Thanks in no small part to the influence of the Caymanian football potentate, our country is again playing host to a world-class sporting event, putting Cayman in the eye of the international media, attracting hundreds of visitors to our shores and hopefully funneling money into local coffers.
Mr. Webb, president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, continues to do well for his country, and the result is Cayman drawing its second major CONCACAF tournament.
Last August, Cayman hosted the inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 boys’ tournament, involving 22 teams. From our personal experience and according to other news accounts, the tournament was well-run, well-attended and overall a success for Cayman. (Our boys vindicated themselves on the pitch, too, going 4-1 in the tournament and finishing second in their group, just behind their rivals from Bermuda.)
Now it’s the ladies’ turn. Today is the beginning of the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship, where eight teams will compete over the next two weeks with the goal of qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada next year.
In the world of women’s football, this tournament is significant and promises to be a fantastic showcase of athleticism, featuring teams representing the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, and, of course, Cayman.
Because of the tournament, Cayman has been featured in positive news stories from organizations across the Western Hemisphere, with nary a mention of the phrase “tax haven” to be found.
Additionally, more than 300 people have arrived in Cayman to participate in the tournament, including players, coaches, officials, administrators, supporters and CONCACAF staff. While they’re here, they’ll be staying in hotels, eating out, renting cars and spending cash on touristy-type activities.
Mr. Webb has estimated that the August boys’ tournament generated more than $2 million in advertising revenue alone and that the women’s tournament will create more than $3 million just in hotel revenue. He said the total value of the women’s tournament to Cayman — from a marketing and promotions standpoint, since major media like FOX and Univision will be broadcasting the matches here — will be in the range of $12 million to $15 million.
Additionally, the CONCACAF 2013 Sports Summit held in Cayman in late October contributed nearly $4 million to the local economy, according to Mr. Webb.
This is all fantastic news. It makes Cayman a winner even before today’s kick-off.
Athletically speaking, Cayman’s team is grouped with Mexico, Honduras and Trinidad. Cayman’s first match is against Mexico and takes place Friday evening.
Thanks to sponsors, admission is free of charge, and accordingly we expect the community to show up in droves in order to support the athletes from every country.
The footballers and their entourages have come all the way to Cayman to play. It’s now our pleasant duty to cheer them on.