Filthy Friday and Bocas FC: Investing in Talent, Illuminating Bocas del Toro Worldwide

April 29, 2024 marks the birthdate of an exciting collaboration that combines party entertainment with sports marketing in Bocas del Toro. A press conference was held where Filthy Friday officially announced its sponsorship of Bocas Fútbol Club (Bocas FC), becoming the first and only sponsor of the team from the archipelago of Bocas del Toro.

“Uniting these two brands has enormous potential for the island and for the province. Its international projection is immense, and I have no doubt that Bocas FC can become one of the most well-known clubs in all of Panama,” shared Filthy Friday CEO Ricky Martinez during the April 29 press conference. “And if we continue for many years, I think we can turn it into a symbol of Panama on a global level. Just as there are many clubs in the world that represent their countries without being teams from the capital or a Champions League team.”

Directors of both organizations exchanged visions of the new alliance, as members of the local, provincial and national press gathered at Pier 19 Restaurant for the occasion. Local talent in the room was celebrated, as we were joined by the Bocas FC athletes from the archipelago. The agreement formalized by signing of the contract and last but not least, was the official premiere of a high-octane promotional clip that best illustrates this alliance.  Check it out!

Video by Eileen Kussé

The Filthy Friday and Bocas FC relationship started when Bocas FC president Benicio Robinson Jr. proposed the opportunity to Martinez earlier this year. It was clear to Filthy Friday leadership from early on that this was something meriting their participation.

“It’s an honor to be part of such a solid project. We have been quite impressed by the level of organization, by the level of certification, by the seriousness with which all club operations are conducted. And for us, it was very evident that we wanted to be part of it,” expressed Martinez.

He continued, “I have been living here on the island for 10 years, and as someone who is a big football fan, I had noticed that Bocas didn’t have a great infrastructure for the sport, especially considering that it’s a place where so much talent emerges, where really good players come from, a hub of talent. So for us to be part of an organization that helps to exploit that talent and enables it to reach the highest levels is very important.”

Starting players for the pro team. From Instagram @bocasfc.club

There are currently has 16 players from the archipelago among the Bocas FC rosters, including Ryan Gómez, a Bastimentos native who proudly represents his island not only with Bocas FC, but also in La Selección, Panama’s national football team, in the Sub 20 group. This is a prime example of the type of opportunities presented to Bocas del Toro youth when the community invests in the development of its talent. A spot on Panama’s national squad and high paying professional leagues in Europe and the United States become real possibilities when raw talent is fostered with proper equipment and professional training.

The home of Bocas FC is the newly built Estádio Rei Pelé stadium in Changuinola, which is acknowledged as the second best stadium in all of Panama, behind the Estadio Rommel Fernández Gutiérrez in Panama City. Bocas’ Pelé stadium seats 1,200 fans and is one of the only playing fields in Panama with all natural grass.

Much like their stadium, Bocas FC is as impressive as it is new. Representing the province of Bocas del Toro, the club was formed on February 9, 2023. In July of 2023 Bocas FC acquired a position in the Western Conference of the Liga de Promoción,  division two of the Liga Panameña de Fútbol, Panama’s professional football league.

Estádio Rei Pelé stadium in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Estádio Rei Pelé stadium in Changuinola.

Today, Bocas FC has teams of multiple age groups ranging from Sub 12 (years old) to the professional category. Currently in their second season, Bocas FC teams have qualified for the semi-finals both seasons. At the time of this publication, the Sub 18 and Pro Category teams are scheduled to face off May 7 and May 15 in semi-final matches, so we may soon have division champion news to report.

Leticia Soto, psychologist and Bocas FC general manager, spoke about how the support the organization gives to its athletes goes beyond the field. “Bocas FC also has its social reasons for being, to oversee its players from a psychological standpoint, from an educational standpoint.”

Dr. Johau Lewis recalled his childhood dreams of playing professional football. Lewis excelled playing for a different under-funded local club until he was 18. Since there was no economic opportunity for the players, he had to move on, though the experience served him well. Today Lewis is a dentist and one of the partners of La Mar Dental and Medical clinic. Reflecting on his upbringing, he recognizes the extremely positive impact the sport had on his life. He feels his dedication to the football created good habits for himself that guided his journey to achieving academic and professional success.

In its seven years of existence, Filthy Friday has a track record of supporting community activities as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility, and in particular athletics. The company began giving back to the community when they emerged from their start-up phase and were first profitable. There are too many causes to name here and they have always done it quietly. However Filthy Friday’s most notable charitable endeavor, one that definitely deserves mention, is their commitment since 2019 to providing daily school meals and yearly backpacks and school supplies to the elementary school on Solarte. 

Filthy Friday Bocas del Toro Panama

For Martinez and business partner Roberto “Fabio” Acevedo, both life-long football fanatics, their newest  sponsorship endeavor represents something of a childhood dream come true; to see their business logo on a football jersey. Martinez has always been a fan of sports marketing, investigating the brands he would see displayed on the athletes and curious about exactly how the logos on football jerseys ended up there. Well after a few months of negotiation with Bocas FC and this April 29 celebration of the contract signing, he is definitely now familiar with the process of how his Filthy Friday logo has wound up on the uniform of Bocas FC.

So how is this particular sponsorship working? There will be a lot of cross-promotion; releasing cool videos for social media and merchandise together. “The idea is to be two brands that symbolize what is good about the province,” says Martinez.

Filthy Friday Bocas FC

Party entertainment and sports entertainment seem to go hand in hand; two activities that really move people. While there are currently logistical challenges for island tourists to attend night games, Filthy Friday envisions a future where visitors are making the trip to Changuinola from the archipelago to enjoy a football match. The Filthy Family recently made the special voyage themselves for the creation of the promotional video and in the process it became apparent that a Filthy Friday blend of halftime entertainment could be a natural complement to the concept of an exciting stadium match experience.

Coincidentally, at the time of this publication, it’s an opportune time to catch a match in Changuinola. The boys of Bocas FC, U18 and Professional Category teams have both qualified for the semi-finals of the Liga Panameña de Fútbol! They will be competing on May 7 and May 15 at the Estádio Rei Peléi in Changuinola. If you are interested in going and have questions about the logistics, contact The Bocas Breeze and we will be happy to give you some ideas. The best place to learn about upcoming matches is on the Bocas FC instagram page @bocasfc.club.

Filthy Friday Bocas FC

April 29, 2024 press conference at Pier 19 Restaurant.

Congratulations to Filthy Friday and Bocas FC on this new alliance, and to the players and the associated staff that are being benefited by this choice to dedicate marketing resources to the great game of football. We salute all private enterprises that are looking beyond their basic business functions and seeing how they can help shape a better world through their commercial endeavors.

“Having a business is not just about taking everything for yourself. The business is something bigger than all the people who are part of it…It has to be bigger. And our ideas have to be bigger than just, ‘How do I benefit?’  We must think about how the community benefits.” – Ricky Martinez, Filthy Friday

Filthy Friday Bocas FC

 

The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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