JIS News

KINGSTON — Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, says that the Government is committed to investing in sports as a vehicle for economic advancement and wealth creation.

She was speaking at an intellectual property and sports seminar on April 19 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Miss Grange said that despite limited resources, some $465 million was injected in the sector in 2009/10, with $218 million spent on infrastructure projects through the Social Development Fund (SDF), and more than $247 million was contributed to the national sports associations.

She informed that several sports facilities have been constructed by the various Government and quasi government institutions, while the physical facilities at the National Stadium, Montego Bay Sports Complex, and the Mona Bowl have been improved.

She noted further that every effort is being made to maintain existing facilities while encouraging and paving the way for individuals and business entrepreneurs to come on board, especially with respect to the maintenance of community facilities.

“We are in the process of streamlining our administrative machinery so that we can offer more technically savvy and efficient professional services,” she stated.

Calling for more private and civil society investment in the sector, the Minister suggested the promotion of sports as a commodity and commercial venture be undertaken as part of a new business model, thereby encouraging further investment.

In the meantime, Miss Grange commended the organisers of the seminar, which looked at the protection of sporting rights and intellectual property (IP).

She said it is important that athletes learn that their intellectual property goes beyond their years of active engagement and becomes their pension. “Even if they change careers, the legacy of their prowess will always bring added value, and it should be well managed so that they can reap all the benefits,” she posited.

Miss Grange noted that in today’s world where information spreads instantly, it is also vital that persons learn how to enforce rights against piracy, how to use domain names, and even how to leverage IP in getting the right sponsorship package and reaping the benefits.

“We must also recognise that brand management is a team sport so these concepts must be understood by athletes, managers, publicists, agents, and lawyers – everybody.

The seminar was organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in co-operation with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) and in collaboration with Attorneys-at-Law, Gordon McGrath.