Sat | Mar 23, 2019

LASCO, Starlight lift Major, Minor netball leagues

Published:Thursday | March 14, 2019 | 12:14 AM

The road to glory just got a little easier for Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls hopefuls, following LASCO’s announcement of its $2-million co-title sponsorship of the 2019 Major and Minor League Netball Competition at the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) offices on Tuesday. The sponsorship stems from their $28-million partnership with the JOA in October 2018.

“We are proud to be associated with this series, which seeks to nurture our future Sunshine Girls through our flagship iCool Water brand along with iDrade isotonic beverage and Curves feminine napkins,” said Omar Palmer, Consumer Division marketing manager at LASCO Distributors.

“We believe that the LASCO iCool Water/Starlight Production Major and Minor League Netball Competition will transform our talented young ladies into elite athletes and ensure that Jamaica not only takes the number-one spot in the world for netball but keeps it for years to come.”

LASCO previously invested $3 million as title sponsors of the Netball Jamaica 60th anniversary 2018 Sunshine Series, featuring the Sunshine Girls, arch-rivals England and Trinidad & Tobago, showing their commitment to the growth of netball in Jamaica and its continued quest to contribute to the advancement of Jamaica and its people. LASCO’s $2-million was joined by another one million sponsorship pledge from Starlight Production to create an accumulated $3-million contribution to the association.

Noting that it is the first time the netball association has found two companies to sponsor both leagues, Netball Jamaica president, Dr Paula Daley-Morris, said the new development bodes well for the future of the beloved sport.

“Normally, we would have one sponsor that would take on the two events,” she said.

“This time, we have two sponsors coexisting and taking both leagues. So, it is really exciting times.

Marketing change

“It signals a change in the way that pe are marketing their brands and seeing sports, because over the years, when we had sponsors, they didn’t want to share the stage with anyone else.

“But for the sport to really grow, we have to begin to have these kinds of [arrangements] that are shared partnerships with mutual benefits.”

The leagues have facilitated the development of netball over the years and have assisted Jamaica in maintaining its position of being ranked in the top-five in world netball over the past 30 years.

The value of the leagues to Brand Jamaica is extremely high, given its role of facilitating the development of the skills of many of the young ladies, who eventually transition into the national senior team.

The Sunshine Girls, currently ranked third in the world, are recent silver medal winners at the 2018 Fast5 World Series and the 2018 Commonwealth Games and boast players who have all competed in one or both leagues.

“It really means a lot to have a sponsor saying to us we are not just passing through; we are here to stay. It means that the game can continue. It means that we can continue to run programmes such as the major and minor league because we know the value of those programmes and if they cease to exist, the game will die,” explained Daley-Morris.

Scheduled to commence today, the 10-week LASCO iCool Water Starlight Production 2019 Major and Minor League Netball Competition will host 645 players, or 43 netball teams, who will compete in 203 matches.