Pro sports in Jamaica include football, basketball, netball and cricket. The active sports program is more wide ranging at the amateur level (schools). Ticket prices for a sports event in range between USD$3 for a regular season football game in the domestic league to USD300 for grandstand seat on the final day of the Boys & Girls Champs.
At the primary through to secondary level in schools, there is high stakes inter schools competition for several sports. There's no shortage of events to see for the visitor who does not mind sharing the stands with vociferous school children cheering their team and sparring about their rivalries.
Between March and May, schools athletics roll out the Prep Schools Champs, Primary School Champs, Gibson Relays, Boys Champs and Girls Champs. For each event, there is frenzied partisan support, and excited engagement of sports interests for the neutrals. The athletics program for school seniors would have started from development (or preparation) meets earlier in January or February. These forerunner meets may decide lower stakes regional bragging rights, and they attract their fair share of interest especially for hard core track and field fans.
For other sports, the crowd pull is not as massive as it is for track & field. However, supporters of school boy football (including Manning Cup and D'Costa Cup) need no encouragement to mark their calendars and turn out for their team.
The marquee event for sports in Jamaica is Boys & Girls Champs. The event is in March and tickets that go on sale are hard to get for the final day. The resale value of those tickets is high. ISSA is promoter of the event.
T20 is a big draw for cricket fans. The longer versions of the game are not as popular nowadays in Jamaica giving the insipid form of the West Indies. The regional T20 competition that rolls out between June and July is filling the void in the imaginations of cricket fans and in bringing the crowd to Sabina Park.
Reggae Boyz home fixtures at the National Stadium is also a big draw on the sports calendar. Road races are popular in Jamaica. Couple of international events galvanizes attention of Jamaicans. This includes the World Cup, World Games and Olympics.
Jamaica had the IAAF sportsman or sports woman of the year for six of the last 10 years, and once had both honours the same year. The 100m is the blue riband of the Summer Olympics. Jamaica fielded two or more of the eight competitors in the men and women 100 meter finals of the past two Summer Olympics, or since Athens 2004. This track record is out of proportion with the 10,990 km sq. of a country that Jamaica is. Notwithstanding the international prowess, there is not plenty of chances to see the Jamaican track and field superstars locally in competitive action. Some of them make an appearance as part of their pre-season warm schedule in the local development meets. But they don't compete in their weight class or pet event.
The Jamaica Invitational is the only calendar event locally that competitively showcases the stellar talent. The IAAF accredited the event in 2011 as a World Challenge meet. The event is staged in May at the National Stadium. Enquire for tickets through the office of the JAAA.
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