Cash-strapped local sporting associations have seized advantage of funding available through Jamaica Sport, accessing sponsorship valued at more than US$260,000 for 13 events since the initiative was launched in October 2014.Ten sporting bodies have accessed funds so far.Among the events staged were the recent Jamaica Volleyball Association Beach Olympic Qualifiers in Ocho Rios, as well as the Caribbean Volleyball Championships in 2015; the 2014 and 2015 Reggae Marathon; the Jamaica International Invitational; the UANA Pan American Youth Water Polo Championships; the West Indies Test series against England and Australia and Caribbean Premier League; the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships; and the CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup Qualifiers.The Jamaica Taekwondo Association was the first body to access funds to host the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup in August 2014.The Jamaica Badminton Association, Netball Jamaica, and the Jamaica Surfing Association also benefited from Jamaica Sport, which receives funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.MORE BOOKINGSDeputy Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Jason Hall told The Gleaner that 20,000 hotel-room nights, with an additional 4,000 tourists, have helped generate an economic impact of US$6 million to date.”Back in 2014, all the associations were contacted to notify them of the existence of Jamaica Sport, and our strategy, and what we were trying to achieve. We also held a number of information sessions that speak specifically to sport tourism economic-assessment model,” Hall said.The ITF World Cup, he said, had generated US$2.6 million from 15,000 guest nights.The figures were arrived at using the Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM).”A measurement tool, where you input the data from the event and even factors non-foreign visitors,” said Hall.He also noted that the International Tennis Federation Senior Championships, which featured French tennis star Marion Bartoli, was televised on four different networks, with 840 guest nights being used.”Staging a major event requires major sponsorship, and the sponsorship from Corporate Jamaica is limited. We are looking at a broader gamut,” he said.BETTER QUALITY EVENTS”We are looking to increase the quality and quantity of events with sporting potential. We are targeting specific events for development,” he added.Hall noted that for interested parties to access funds, their event must have tourism potential and must be sanctioned by the sport’s local governing body. Tourism potential would be evidenced by a marketing plan.Criteria for approval for funding would include giving Jamaica a competitive advantage through hosting, a high multiplier effect, and lower operating costs.Hall said that the events of interest include golf; masters’ events; beach events such as beach volleyball, beach tennis, beach rugby, and beach football; endurance events; high school and youth competitions; training camps; sports conferences; motocross; and surfing.He added that discussions were now in progress to stage a cycling tour of Jamaica in the vein of the Tour de France.Jamaica Sport is chaired by Chris Dehring and includes Howard McIntosh, Caribbean Premier League director of operations; Michael Hall, head of communications at the West Indies Cricket Board; Carole Beckford; and general manager of Independence Park Limited, Major Desmon Brown.