Jamaica News: Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the upcoming Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic Basketball Tournament in Montego Bay is “another feather in the cap” for the growing and increasingly lucrative sport tourism market.
The Minister, in a statement to JIS News, said that increasingly, people are travelling to countries across the globe to participate in and watch a wide range of sports, and Jamaica has been fortunate to attract one of the United States’ (US) top college basketball preseason events.
“We recognise that the staging of a basketball tournament of this magnitude sends a strong signal to the world that Jamaica is growing as a prime sport tourism destination. The exposure to be gained from the partnership with the Jamaica Classic is invaluable and we expect continued benefits for the sport of basketball,” she said.
Eight college teams will participate in the preseason tournament, which will be held from November 22 to 24 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. They are Louisiana State, Rhode Island, Utah State, North Texas, Nicholls State, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Eastern Michigan and North Carolina A&T.
The event is being held in Jamaica for the third year, following its introduction in 2017.
Director of Tourism, Donovan White, told JIS News that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is pleased to be a major sponsor of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic.
“The preseason college basketball tournament continues to grow from year to year and we’re delighted for the exciting opportunity to showcase the Montego Bay Convention Centre as a leading venue for hosting world-class sporting events,” he noted.
Mr. White noted that CBS Sports will be streaming the event live, which will provide “great exposure for Montego Bay and, indeed, for Jamaica”.
“We look forward to welcoming basketball fans and sports enthusiasts from around the globe to this top-class tournament hosted right here in our beloved homeland. I am sure they will see, firsthand, why Jamaica is truly the heartbeat of the world,” Mr. White added.
Executive Director of Jersey Mike’s, Jacob Ridenhour, in the meantime, hailed the cooperation from the various ministries and agencies in the staging of the tournament.
“The support validates what we are attempting to achieve in Jamaica – to build the sport of basketball locally by exposing the youth of the nation to all the incredible educational opportunities that can be gained through sports, and use the opportunity to bring additional visitors to beautiful Montego Bay,” he noted.
He said that Jersey Mike’s partnership with the Jamaica Basketball Association (JABA), I Love MoBay and the Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club has enabled a connection to the youth and basketball communities throughout Jamaica.
He said the intent is to establish the Jamaica Classic as a premier preseason college basketball destination for years to come.
Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment is one of the main organisers of the tournament.
Source: JIS News