“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
Author and historian Lawrence Jackson has returned home to Baltimore as a Bloomberg distinguished professor of English and history at Johns Hopkins University.Author and historian Lawrence Jackson. (Screengrab from YouTube video)Jackson is known for his scholarship on African-American culture and literature. He wrote a 2002 biography of writer Ralph Ellison, author of the award-winning novel “Invisible Man” and is set to release a biography on writer Chester Himes this summer. Jackson published a memoir of his family in 2012 titled “My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family After the Civil War,” and has penned many other books, essays and articles.In keeping with his return to Baltimore, Jackson is set to launch a project celebrating and preserving the culture, arts and history of Charm City, and examining how those assets could become “tools of liberation.” The project, which will begin in 2018 through Johns Hopkins’ Center for Africana Studies, will collaborate with neighborhoods and cultural institutions in the city.Jackson also plans to establish a free jazz concert to honor Baltimore’s jazz legacy, according to Hopkins’ Hub newspaper.“As an innovative, conscientious scholar and biographer, Professor Jackson has recast the study of modern African-American literature and culture,” Beverly Wendland, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. “We expect that his new role at Hopkins will only broaden his influence. Beyond that, we look forward to the exciting programs he plans for the university to engage more meaningfully with the city of Baltimore.”Jackson began his teaching career at Howard University, and spent 14 years at Emory University in Atlanta before joining Hopkins.