“I believe when you look at the CPL (the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament), nobody could deny the attendance there during those games. I believe if we market the product properly and if we have a product that is competitive, both West Indies and territorial, then I don’t believe the location is necessarily an issue in terms of bringing the crowd in to Sabina Park.” Heaven said he is aware that the park cannot survive on revenue received solely from cricket matches and added that the JCA and Kingston Cricket Club (who also operates and maintains the ground) have taken the decision to have more non-sporting activities hosted at the venue. “I believe more and more that Sabina Park will become a multipurpose stadium as well, with the focus on cricket as the primary activity to be played at the park,” Heaven added. “But we have to introduce other activities without damaging the possibility of playing cricket there because we have to protect the pitch and the outfield.” Heaven told The Gleaner that he wants to create a cricket museum at Sabina Park. “It has to be more than cricket that we offer at a cricket venue,” he said. “I still have it on the table to establish a cricket museum at Sabina Park. I’ve seen where people come to Sabina Park just to have a view of the venue and to see a historic place. Now, if we have memorabilia (branded goods) on sale there, and a museum, that in itself would be an attraction outside of cricket. So we have to diversify what we have at the park … to sell more than cricket.” Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven said that Cricket West Indies (CWI) is not doing enough to market the product, which he believes has a negative effect on Sabina Park’s attraction as a host venue. Heaven believes that this is what has led to what he describes as poor Test match attendance at the venue in recent years. Of the last seven Test series played by the West Indies senior men’s team in the Caribbean since 2012, only four matches took place at Sabina Park. However, CWI President Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron recently said that other nations in the West Indies had embraced cricket more than Jamaica and that some persons do not see Kingston as a tourist destination, which hurts Sabina Park’s chances of hosting Test matches frequently due to low attendance. Heaven said that this cannot be true since the ground used to be filled for Test matches decades ago. “My difficulty with that is that once upon a time, Sabina Park would be full,” Heaven said. “If it’s not a tourism destination now, it certainly was not then. So, to me, it is more than that. I believe some of the issues impacting Sabina Park relate to the quality of the product offering and also, when you have a dollar to spend on sport, people may be going for other competitive sports that they may show a preference for over cricket. So the quality of the team and marketability of the product need improvement. PROPER MARKETING NEEDED
Young Guns aftermath…Having made good on his promise to win by knockout by the second of six rounds, Barbadian Boxer Keithland King was undeniably elated at carrying his professional record to three wins from three fights, especially in a foreign country.Keithland King (left) battling it out with Derick RichmondThe middleweight boxer, who exchanged punches with Guyanese Derick Richmond in the headline fight of the Guyana Boxing Board of Control’s (GBBC) ‘Young Guns- The proving ground’ card, told Guyana Times Sport he was happy to have achieved the goal he had set himself.“It feels good to pick up the win, because I came for the win,” ‘The King’ declared.Describing his mindset throughout the six-minute fight, King said he could have achieved the knockout sooner, but was not focused enough to get there.“It didn’t happen how I wanted it to happen. I think I was a little too anxious; I just needed to sit and relax some more, but I think I was rushing it too much,” King disclosed.Regarding this being his first time fighting at the Cliff Anderson Sport Hall (CASH), and because foreign conditions often pose problems to boxers who are not well adjusted, King noted that Guyana has been favourable. “The conditions were all right at the Sports Hall,” the ‘King’ said. “In terms of fighting, the temperature was good and everything,” he expressed.Looking to the future, the middleweight boxer has no problem with returning to compete on Guyanese shores. In fact, he is looking forward to doing so.“There’s a next card here in October. I want to get on it,” he revealed.On a more controversial note, King was very vocal in expressing his dissatisfaction with his opponent’s weight.Prior to fight night, King weighed in at 159 pounds, which is acceptable for the middleweight class, given that it averages at 160 pounds. However, the Guyanese boxer was not as close to the weight limit as King. Much to the concern of the Boxing Board, Richmond weighed in at 174 pounds, some 14 pounds over the class. Nevertheless, the fight was sanctioned with the blessing of both contestants.To this end, King passionately stated, “I mean, this guy that I just fought, I wish that he was 160 (pounds). Fifteen pounds is a lot, and it’s very disrespectful to the sport. As a professional boxer, coming into the round with 15 pounds (over the weight limit) is total disrespect to your opponent, yourself and your country.”Despite the hiccup, the boxer is grateful for the opportunity afforded him. “I just want to say, ‘Thank you,’ to the Guyana Boxing Board, the sponsors, the crowd, and everybody for turning out. Thank you for the opportunity to box in your country,” the ‘King’ says.