World Championship events planned
Cayman could be the new base for an international television company.
Iceman Production, which provides sports marketing services and television programmes to nearly 50 countries, is planning to locate here, said Roger Piggot, chief executive officer, producer and director.
“The opportunities are enormous,” he said. “What I love is the culture; it’s safe, laid back.”
Originally the operation was mooted to move to the US Virgin Islands.
“They are [not happy] but I have made the decision as the CEO to say, I am flying in, I have five days and a full agenda of meetings and presentations [with the Cayman Islands Government and other stakeholders].
“We are going to come in, bring our world-class editing and production facilities into Cayman,” he said. “The Cayman Islands will be recognised in the global sports market for broadcast as a supplier of international programming.”
Iceman – an acronym for International Corporate Event Marketing and Advertising Network – specialises in ready-to-air offshore powerboat racing, international long-drive golf and high-impact motorsports programming.
The company creates television programmes based on either offshore racing or the long-drive golf championships, a sport that Iceman owns the right to. The programmes also showcase the destination and the shows are then sold worldwide in various languages.
“In the event we roll in [to Cayman], which I feel we are, we will bring the world championships in long drive to the Island, 2011. That is a guarantee…,” he said. “It would be the first-ever world championships executed for long-drive golf with attendance of 14 countries with Team Caymans playing host.
Also, he said, there is “the creation of a major offshore race tied to the Caribbean championship finals. Both events receive international exposure valued at $25 million in two languages – English and Spanish – with broadcast reaching 350 million households globally per episode airing. All of our programming includes promotion of World Orphans Day and we draw a ton of celebrity support from the Stars Foundation, which would work perfectly on the Island.”
Mr. Piggot attended the recent Million Dollar Run, which he said showcased the calm waters and alerted him to the potential of the Cayman Islands as a location.
“It was the way the cards fell. When I was in Cayman I met the Premier at the kickoff party, had a real nice chit-chat,” he said. “He’s a pretty direct guy and asked me, ‘How come you’ve never filmed in the Cayman Islands?’
“I said, ‘Buddy, walk a mile in my shoes and try to deal with your screwed-up tourism board – how do you like that answer?’ and it just blew him away. That is why I am [filming] in Trinidad, in Jamaica, in Cuba – those guys know what international marketing is all about.”
The marketer and producer also met Cayman’s racing fraternity, who knew a great deal about Iceman and their television series, plus other influential individuals who explained what was available financially in Cayman compared to the US Virgin Islands.
“More than that is looking at the local film industry,” he said. “I hate coming into a market and rocking the boat. That’s not the way we work. When I look at the Cayman Islands, as an export product there is no international television programming coming out of your country. So when I show up and just edit my shows, assemble the raw footage we collect, I can build my series in your basement and it’s suddenly an export commodity for the Cayman Islands.
“It’s one of those products that those blue chip companies like: media. I am on prime time,” he said.
Mr. Piggot explained that after the Million Dollar Run he received emails from world-famous race teams all expressing an interest in his thoughts on that event. High-performance water races can have a huge effect on the economy, he said.
“When you look at the money those boats bring in and the economic impact [of a world-class race event to be developed] it is impressive. As a producer of our programming, I retain 50 per cent of all media in every one of my shows, which is what I spin off into my base sponsors. That’s what tourism would get; they would be part of that 50 per cent.
Mr. Piggot said he is results-driven, with a track record, and not looking for any handouts.
“The bottom line is media,” he said.
“Everyone gets a piece of the pie and those are always good events because everyone is realising an economic benefit from being showcased on worldwide TV.”