Deer wants greater corporate support for Diaspora sport events

Friday, September 07, 2018

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President of the Jamaica High School Alumni Sports Network (JHSASN) Lavern Deer has called for greater corporate input in the annual Diaspora sports extravaganza staged over the US Labour Day weekend in South Florida.

She believes that Jamaican companies, in particular, stand to benefit by aligning themselves to the sports and cultural event, which is highlighted by a football tournament contested by the alumni of Jamaican high schools.

“We would like to see more corporate sponsors from Jamaica come on board and support this product because, I am sure, they will get a return from the Diaspora here and in Jamaica.

“Let's not forget that this event is being globalised by the media outlets that come to cover the event. Look at JN Bank, for example; they have seen the benefit of working with us and other companies in Jamaica can benefit as well,” Deer argues.

The JHSASN boss noted that as the event celebrates its 10th year and looks beyond that, her wish list includes broadening the scope of the event across the board.

“In the future we want to build more on the festival component, although this year the weather didn't allow us to bring out the bounce house for the kids, because safety is first every time. Another thing we are looking at is to increase from 16 teams to 24 teams, and these are things I am going to go back to my team with.

“Also, we will be reviewing the 10 years to see what we can do better to take us to the next level and through to the next 10 years,” Deer told the Jamaica Observer from the Lauderhill Sports Park, the event's base since inception.

She said also she would like to feel a greater impact from an economical standpoint for the City of Lauderhill, whose endorsement of the event as sponsor has grown significantly over the years.

“Because the city of Lauderdale has been so good to us, being a sponsor and all, I would like to see an increase in tourism coming from Jamaica into the tournament.

“I know we get a lot of visitors from other parts of the US, Canada and even from the UK, and people flying up directly from Jamaica, but we would like to see an increase in business because once the city is benefiting, then you know that your event is contributing to the economic segment of the city,” stated Deer.

The Diaspora family-oriented two-day showpiece, which was staged on Sunday and Monday, was impacted by the passing of Tropical Depression Gordon over South Florida. Still, the participants and patrons came out in their numbers.

Sunday's first day was severely affected by a lightning storm, while Monday's final day had a late start due to heavy rains, but organisers responded by employing an extra field and reducing the duration of games to keep the fixtures ticking over.

“Once we got the clearance the crowd started to come in, and what we got was a record-breaking crowd for a Sunday and that motivated me going into Monday,” said Deer.

On the field of play, the Keammar Daley-inspired Calabar High School were crowned champions for the first time, clipping first-time finalists Old Harbour High 1-0.

The champions walked away with the Caribbean National Weekly trophy and US$2,000. Traditionally, portions or all the prize money is downstreamed to the sports programme of the victorious school.

“We crowned a new champion in Calabar, who have been in the tournament since inception; so what better way to celebrate the 10th year by crowning a team that has been with us for 10 years?

“Overall I am thankful to the patrons who continue to come out and support, and I would also like to thank all the sponsors,” Deer concluded.

Key sponsors are JN Bank, City of Lauderhill, Goldson Spine Rehab Center, WZOP Radio, Caribbean National Weekly, Irie FM, Moments Bar & Grill, Arm Waves, SFL Caribbean TV and Broward 1 Carnival.

— Sean Williams

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