KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – A possible name change is among a raft of changes which the historic cricket stadium, Sabina Park, could undergo if the Jamaica Cricket Association follow through on its ambitious 10-year redevelopment plan.
The JCA are mulling over the acquisition of naming rights similar to what is done internationally and are also plotting some infrastructural changes like the addition of a sports lounge, an accommodation facility and a jogging track on the perimeter of the venue.
“We have given consideration – only given consideration as there’s no direction yet – can we rename Sabina Park?” the Gleaner newspaper here quoted JCA communications and marketing manager, Garth Williams as saying.
“For example, you have the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat play [in the NBA], you have the AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys [in the NFL].
“Can we look at something like that around Sabina Park? How then do we provide commercial value for those entities who seek to partner with us in that particular kind of way? We believe we are sitting on a gold mine there at Sabina Park.”
Sabina Park is one of the Caribbean’s oldest cricket venues, having staged its first Test almost 90 years ago. Located in the country’s capital, Kingston, there have been discussions by authorities on how best to monetise the venue, beyond only cricket.
Investment in the infrastructural changes could only up to JA$25 million but the JCA projects this could result in annual revenue of up to $50 million – well over the current $2 to $4 million at current.
“We already have the space. What it needs now are some minor renovations and then to put the marketing behind it to attract people into the space,” Williams explained about the project.
“This is to ensure that we have all the necessary amenities. We had already come with a certain number of things. We have good, secure parking; we’re accessible. So it’s really more around what we do in the space.
“With this figure, we can get things running and it also includes the marketing around it. It’s not all the capital expenditure to install the fittings that we need, but also to really pump funds into getting the space popularised.”
The accommodation facility, the Sabina Inn, will be a three-star product aimed at boosting the accommodation capacity at the venue. Further, there are also plans to install replay screens.
It is hoped that Sabina’s enhancement will run parallel with the development of the area so that the city benefits as a whole.
“It’s not that Sabina will just be an oasis, so to speak, and then around it is just terrible,” said Williams.
“Once the municipality is providing that designation, there come with it certain types of benefits. But also, with this increase in activities, you will find, as well, that the community is welcome to participate, but it will also find jobs.
“Cricket matches provide temporary employment relief, but once you have us establish that entertainment zone, then that relief is no longer temporary. It is extensive.”