Cricket got a lot more interesting recently with the announcement of a professional, franchise-based league in the Caribbean, much like the English and European Football Premier Leagues.
But what many do not know is that the organisation and management of what will be the largest sporting spectacle in the region is being undertaken locally by a small, Caymanian-owned event management company.
Kelly Holding Events and Communications has been hired by financier Ajmal Khan, founder and chairman of the Caribbean Premier League, to oversee the execution of the tournament, which will span six countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago – over a 30-day period this coming summer. Chris Gayle will be the biggest name in the lineup.
Kelly Holding Events, formed in 2003, is owned by Caymanian Rhonda Kelly and her business partner, Laurie-Ann Holding, who hails from Antigua and Barbuda.
Together, the two have more than 40 years collective experience and expertise in event management, public relations, marketing, sponsorship management and consultancy, branding and corporate communications.
Over the years, these hardworking women have made a name for themselves and the company, ironically, in the male-dominated sport of cricket.
In 2006 and 2008, Kelly Holding managed the Stanford 20/20 Cricket Tournaments, which at the time was the biggest sporting event in the Caribbean.
“Stanford 20/20 was six weeks of action-packed, thrilling entertainment both on and off the field,” Kelly said. “Brilliant cricket played by the best talent that the Caribbean has to offer, performances by well-known soca, reggae and dancehall artists, beautiful girls dancing in the stands, the sounds of the iron band and screaming men, women and children all combined to make Antigua the place to be.
“We are happy and grateful to have been a part of such an amazing event, which has helped to prepare us for what is going to be an even bigger project.”
Kelly and Holding have managed Digicel Group’s sponsorship of the West Indies team and provided event management support for the West Indies Cricket Home Series on Digicel’s behalf since 2005. The company also performed event and venue management functions for Cricket World Cup 2007 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, the Trelawny and Sabina Stadiums in Jamaica and the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
“When we have time to think about it, we marvel at the fact that Cayman is one of the smallest countries in the Caribbean and one not necessarily known for cricket, but yet this small, all-female team has produced some of the biggest cricket spectacles in the region. It is quite humbling really,” Kelly said. “The CPL will be the largest sporting event in the Caribbean for sure. It is going to be high profile and great for our business because it will expand our event management knowledge and give us international exposure, so we’re excited.”
Kelly Holding has also established a reputation for excellence locally, and is probably best known for its organisation of the annual Cayman Islands Marathon.
“The Cayman Islands Marathon is probably our most personally rewarding event because it is our own. It is wholly owned and organised by Kelly Holding,” Kelly said. “We manage every aspect of the race. This includes securing sponsorships each year; the marketing, advertising and promotion of the event both locally and overseas; disseminating all information regarding the event; the management of the CaymanIslandsMarathon.com website; the registration; coordination of volunteers; and the on site management of the race.”
Kelly Holding Events has also organised everything from corporate conferences, trade shows, and charity events to book launches, art shows, golf tournaments, gala dinners and private visits to the island.
In addition, Kelly said the company is putting greater emphasis these days on the public relations side, which she said will fill a void on the island.