Bankers Insurance takes over as main sponsor of Central FC

Central FC managing director Brent Sancho, left, presents Vance Gabrial, CEO of Bankers Insurance, with a team jersey during Friday’s sponsorship launch at the Hasely Crawford Stadium VIP Lounge, Port of Spain.
Sunday 18 January 2015

Bankers Insurance, a local insurance firm, has taken over as the new main sponsor of current Digicel Pro League leaders Central FC and will be the brand displayed predominantly on the front of the "Couva Sharks" match jersey.

While the terms of the sponsorship was kept at a low, Central FC managing director and co-founder Brent Sancho said it is worth in the six digits category and a multi-year deal.

Bankers Insurance takes over from Super Industrial Services (SIS), Central FC’s launching sponsor in 2012, however the construction firm will continue to serve as a sponsor and within the club’s development initiatives.

Speaking during the launch of the new sponsorship deal at the Hasely Crawford Stadium VIP Lounge last Friday, Sancho said that while Central wants to succeed on the pitch, the club is based on the mantra of equal success on and off the pitch, but understands fully that they cannot walk alone.

“We are honoured the Bankers Insurance group has chosen to partner with Central FC,” said the 2006 World Cup defender and ex Soca Warrior. “They exemplify qualities that our club inspire to become.

“We look forward with great anticipation to the success of this dynamic synergy. We intend for the synergy to grow from strength to strength along with the successes of our youths of the nation.”

At just two-and-a-half years old, Central already boasts two First Citizens Cups (2013 and 2014), the 2013 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and most recently the inaugural Rawle Fletcher Cup (2014-2015) but it was the club’s off field endeavours that attracted the local insurance firm.

Over its existence the Couva based club partnered with various entities to get involved in community projects such as the “Treat Her Like a Lady” and “Give Breast Cancer the Boot” projects, visits to the Cyril Ross Home, toy giveaways for Christmas and Christmas food drive, all of which included the involvement of Central FC players.

Vance Gabriel, chief executive officer at Bankers Insurance explained that his friend George Romano, Central FC director of youth and women’s football, had asked if Bankers Insurance could play a role.

Gabriel said that after investigating, and to his surprise, Central were in the news quite often.

“In fact, they were in the news for other things rather than football,” said Gabriel. “It struck me therefore as a club with what I will call a social conscience. I must say that coming from background of service and understanding the humanity. I felt that it would be a good fit.

“The problem of course would be to convince the board. CEO’s can dream all that they want. It is for the board to dream that dream as well. What I did over a period of weeks, I cut out all the articles that appeared in the newspapers that involved Central FC. Let me tell you, I have stacks of them. They seemed to be like ants. They seem to be everywhere. When I showed the board the potential, I have to admit that it was not that difficult to convince them.”
 Central FC players display new team kits, revealing the brand of main sponsor Bankers Insurance, during Friday’s sponsorship launch at the Hasely Crawford Stadium VIP Lounge, Port of Spain.
Sancho said, “We (Central FC) are extremely proud of the impact our endeavours have had but mostly important, we are extremely cognisant of our active role in sculpting the minds of our future lawyers, doctors, school teachers and of course football stars in the various communities. This is a game we cannot lose.

“Our obligation to some of the deliverables, in such a partnership, will be inclusive of assisting in continuing the enhancement of Bankers Insurance image to raise awareness of Bankers Insurance group, and to demonstrate a commitment to our communities.”

Sancho also said that the deeply rooted dream of himself and co-founder Kevin Harrison, the club’s operations manager, has always been to help the youth of the nation excel on the national and international stage of football.

“Our players will come to realise that their freedom is intimately bound to the principles and vision of Central FC. Why join a gang and shoot guns when you can join Central FC and shoot goals?”

Also speaking during the new sponsorship launch, TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene congratulated Central FC and Bankers Insurance on the start of what he hopes is a long and mutually rewarding partnership.

Skeene said that over the past two and a half years Central have generated significant brand exposure second to none, but reminded, “How you project your brand will determine how people interact with you. How you carry yourself off and on the field of play. How you speak and behave. These things are the honey that attract the bees, like companies like Bankers Insurance, to your brand.

All these things are important aspects of sports sponsorship which works on a continuum. At one end you have the major brands investing in huge global properties, and at the other you have the smaller bees based in communities. Both work because they are targeted at specific audiences, have a shared emotional link, and have appropriate visibility and method of communication.”

The Pro League CEO said that the partnership between Bankers Insurance and Central FC adds to the commercial portfolio of partners and augurs well for the future of the league, and could benefit other clubs as well.

“Every time a club acquires a new partner the Pro League becomes stronger, not only as a club, but the organisation as a whole. It is important for Pro League clubs as well to access Bankers’ experience in the insurance business to help provide protection for their players and staff.

“It is also important that while individual clubs must look first to their own interest, it is just as important for them to recognise that all clubs are business partners and that any help that can be passed along to help build a stronger league, is essential in every club’s future.

“This partnership between Bankers Insurance and Central FC should demonstrate how a strong brand fit, clear objectives, and mutually agreed strategies can deliver great results. Each of us must continue to accept full responsibility for the positive marketing of the league. No detail is too small. People wouldn’t attend games unless we make them want to attend. Our destiny is in our hearts and minds,” concluded Skeene.