Welcome back: Wray & Nephew returns as JPL's title sponsor with multi-year deal; infrastructure development also within scope Featured

(from left) JFF president Michael Ricketts; Christopher Williams, PFJL's chairman; Wray and Nephew's managing director Jean-Philippe Beyer, and PFJL's CEO, Owen Hill, during the Jamaica Premier League launch at Dominica Drive on Tuesday. (from left) JFF president Michael Ricketts; Christopher Williams, PFJL's chairman; Wray and Nephew's managing director Jean-Philippe Beyer, and PFJL's CEO, Owen Hill, during the Jamaica Premier League launch at Dominica Drive on Tuesday. Annya Holloway

After a 16-year halt, the Wray and Nephew Group, through its White Overproof Rum brand has embarked on another major marketing investment in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL), with a multi-year deal as the league’s new title sponsor.

The three-year partnership valued at well over $60 million fills a pricey opening left by Digicel, who recently completed a three-year deal of their own worth $200 million.

Wray and Nephew last sponsored the league in 2002, and in 2006 it extended the contract until 2012. However, the deal ended abruptly in 2007 after Wray and Nephew released the Jamaica Football Federation from its contract without penalty.

At the time, Wray and Nephew officials stated that they stood ready to continue supporting football should any opportunity arise in the future and with Digicel, who took over the title sponsorship from Red Stripe in 2020, now backing out, the premium rum company is now back to bridge the gap.

However, unlike previous deals, Wray and Nephew’s Managing Director Jean-Philippe Beyer, explained that this partnership with the league organizers Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), will go much deeper.

Beyer, though reluctant to go in details, announced during Tuesday’s launch that his company is also intent on investing in the country’s sporting infrastructure development.

“We understand that supporting this league goes beyond supporting footballers, but we also have an impact on the coaches, management, spectators and the vendors, among others. So, a big thank you to everyone who has made this such an important platform to Jamaican society,” Beyer said during the event held at their Dominica Drive base.

“More importantly, this partnership is part of a wider initiative in national football progress. We are working with the Professional Football Jamaica Limited to build a long-term viable football initiative and so we are planning to commit a significant amount of money to develop sporting infrastructure,” he added.

Beyer pointed out that Wray and Nephew’s sponsorship across Jamaica’s sporting landscape has been significant. This, as besides football, they have invested in boxing, cricket, bobsleigh and even the Sunshine Girls recent World Cup campaign.

“J Wray and Nephew is a true stakeholder in Jamaica, making our country a decent place to live, work, raise a family and to do business. This is not just talk because in a little less than 10 years, our contribution to sport sponsorship has easily surpassed $1 billion, so we are putting our money where our mouth is,” he declared.

“This investment represents our commitment to celebrating Jamaica’s talent and we look forward to the success of the Jamaica Premier League and working with you to meet the challenges. We believe that partnerships are more important because we achieve more together,” Beyer noted.

PFJL’s CEO Owen Hill, said it was easy to get Wray and Nephew back on board, as both party's objectives are aligned, particularly where community involvement is concerned.

 “We want to give options and opportunities to the players, the clubs and coaches and others of the football landscape. So, having Wray and Nephew on board just shows how important it is, and along with other partners, it helps to build out that platform,” he told SportsMax.TV.

“What we did was show them the value added and how it can impact more lives and become deeper than it really is now. So, the alignment between brands is very clear and they want community involvement, so it was an easy sell because it helps to advance their own cause,” Hill shared.

As it has been over the years, all the action for the next eight months, will be on SportsMax and the SportsMax app.

CEO Nicholas Matthews, promised that the coverage will, as always, represent the class and quality of the Home of Champions.

“We have been working a lot with the JPL and this season we are going to lift that game. The league wants to go back into the communities, and we have looked at the plan and we will be going back into some of the communities to produce games. So, you are going to see a lot more involvement where the communities are concerned, but we are ensuring the quality of the product remains the same,” said Matthews.

The 2023/24 edition of the Jamaica Premier League is scheduled for kick off on October 22, with Lime Hall, out of St Ann and St Elizabeth’s Treasure Beach, being the new additions. 

Another St Ann-situated club, Mount Pleasant Academy, are defending champions.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 12:07
Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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