4th Annual UTech, Jamaica /JMMB Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture Examines “Monetizing Brand Jamaica’s Sporting Success”

Olympian Asafa Powell, (2nd left) poses with his special award in recognition of his outstanding contribution and achievements as a Jamaican athlete par excellence, presented by Prof. Stephen Vasciannie (left) President, UTech, Jamaica.  The award was presented at the annual UTech/Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture held on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at the UTech, Jamaica  Papine campus.   Sharing in the occasion are Patricia Sutherland, Chairman-JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation and Dr. Paul Golding, Dean, College of Business and Management, UTech, Jamaica.

The Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Jamaica) in collaboration with the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the JMMB Group hosted the 4th Annual Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 under the theme, “Mining Gold! How do we Monetize Brand Jamaica’s Sporting Success?” The memorial lecture which honors the vision, mission and passion of the late corporate leader and JMMB co-founder, Joan Duncan was held at the UTech, Jamaica Papine campus.

President, UTech, Jamaica, Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, CD in his welcome told the large gathering of members of the sporting fraternity, business community, educators and students that the potential value of sports for individual wealth is clear, citing that the combined earnings of Jamaica’s athletes is estimated at US$33 billion annually.  He noted that despite the successes of our athletes, Jamaica has been unable to reap the full benefits of a sport industry.  “Jamaica clearly enjoys a competitive advantage on the world stage in the sprints and the rest of the world recognizes this value and is willing to pay for it,”  Prof. Vasciannie said. Commenting on the approaches for the development of a sustainable sports industry, Prof. Vasciannie called for more education and research into the scientific underpinnings of the discipline, noting that “the application of knowledge is critical in preserving and sustaining athletic talent and to making sport a sustainable commodity.”

Chairman, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, Mrs. Patricia Sutherland in her partnership remarks said that the annual lecture in memory of her mother is intended to restore hope, leading to economic growth for Jamaica. “We want growth in Jamaica, not just for a few, we want it for everybody,” she said, adding that growth and wealth creation should not be at any cost at the expense of ethical standards, but must be underpinned by freedom from corruption and driven by a sense integrity.

Senator the Hon. Pearnell Charles Jr., State Minister in the Ministry of National Security brought greetings on behalf of Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.  Minister Charles emphasized that sports is an integral part of the country’s development with a role for every Jamaican.  He noted that the Government is working assiduously on a number of physical infrastructure development programmes.

The main address was delivered by Don Lockerbie, Managing Director, Sports and Events, The Parker Company, Miami Florida and former Chief Operating Officer and Venue Development Director of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies. Lockerbie presented a range of recommendations on how Jamaica can better leverage its assets and talent in sport to harness a greater share of the estimated global US$144 billion sports industry which he noted is growing at a rate of 3 to 5 per cent annually.

Among his recommendations was a call for the revitalization of sporting venues to enhance revenue generation.  He said that gone are the days where stadia are named after “dead musicians, politicians and generals.” He noted in the new era  big companies are putting their names on stadia to expand their portfolio and brand recognition.  He pointed to examples of big, multi-purpose event facilities such as the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, Met Life Stadium, home of the New York Giants, the AT & T Stadium, home of Dallas Cowboys, among others.  He also called for the establishment of a proactive sports commission working with Olympic committees and federations to bring in sports oriented businesses and events and the development of a sports tourism industry built around the global star power of our elite athletes as ambassadors. 

Lockerbie also suggested that Jamaica could further benefit from the establishment of a professional sport management development company that is privately and publicly funded. He recommended establishing manufacturing plants and factories to create Jamaican branded sporting goods for the international market and threw out the call for Jamaica to pursue opportunities for affiliation with USA sports leagues, such as major league baseball, national teams and universities which could see their athletes training and competing in Jamaica. 

The recommendation for the greater use of athletes as ambassadors was supported by Olympian and former 100M World Record Holder Asafa Powell who provided the athlete’s perspective on the lecture theme.  “We must sell brand Jamaica.  We are not afraid to be used by the country,” Asafa said to rousing applause. He cautioned Jamaica not to wait until it is too late to capitalize on opportunities to market brand Jamaica’s sporting prowess, emphasizing that “we are giants in the world and everyone wants to be a part of Jamaica.” 

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with industry experts Christopher Dehring, CEO, Ready Cable Television, Howard McIntosh, Director, Entertainment Advisory Board, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport/Director, Jamaica Football Federation and Dr. Kamilah Hylton, Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport, UTech, Jamaica.  The session was moderated by Sports Advisor, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Aldrick McNab.  The panelists all emphasized the important nexus between sport and entertainment and the need to separate the passion for sports from the business of managing and commercializing sports.  Dr. Kamilah Hylton for her part reaffirmed the importance of doing research on the science behind sport to give Jamaica the best product for sustainable outcomes.

Mr. Michael Steele, Head, Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL) who chaired the evening’s proceedings, said that the JDSEEL was established with a vision to creating innovative graduates who could pursue their own businesses.  He noted that the School established in 2010 is the first of its kind in the English Speaking Caribbean to have an active business incubation centre for start-up business.  Over 260 clients have been nurtured in the residential, virtual and shared space programmes offered by the Technology Innovation Centre since its establishment in 2002.  Its graduates and clients have been impactful on the economy with some having gained investment in their businesses and have been recipients of numerous local and international awards.

Panel Discussion:  Olympian and former World Record Holder Asafa Powell, (left), shares his perspectives at the annual UTech/Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture held on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at the UTech, Jamaica Papine campus.  Other presenters seated from left are Dr. Kamilah Hylton, Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport, UTech, Jamaica, Don Lockerbie, Managing Director, Sports and Events Group, Florida, USA and Christopher Dehring, CEO, Ready Cable Television. 


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm