The 2020 SheBelieves Cup saw the last days of “normalcy” before the pandemic was made official, as sports events came to a halt around the world.
This year’s four-team invitational stretched across three cities: Orlando, Florida; Harrison, New Jersey and Frisco, Texas; between March 5 and 11. Toyota Stadium was the last venue to see which of the four women’s national teams would be crowned champions – England, Japan, Spain or United States.
This tournament always proves to be a challenge with fast-paced planning and implementation. With multiple areas to brand and a fast-moving timeline, our team again delivered on time and with great attention to detail. We were able to tackle all three major areas of branding within a day and a half before match day. TGI prepared mixed media elements and field level installations in anticipation of team arrivals on the first day.
The familiarity in these markets was an advantage, not only for knowing the whereabouts on site, but also who to work alongside. As a guest at their stadiums, TGI worked with each venue’s staff as if it was all one team serving the US Women’s National Team.
The latter part of the implementation process had included the coronavirus outbreak anticipation. We knew it was an escalating risk, so the US Soccer federation and TGI worked together a contingency plan if anything were to come up. We took the time to disinfect areas of our branding at all venues, even though the threat of the virus became more active once the final matches were already set in motion.
After the championship match, fans were invited to see women leaders and attend workshops in Chicago at the SheBelieves Summit – where TGI would play a big part in the décor of the convention – but as the players and fans left the field, we learned that the event and all further US Soccer matches had been cancelled.
Since that 3-1 USA win over Japan in March, TGI has not been able to go on the road for US Soccer due to the quarantine. It has definitely been bittersweet for me. For once, I have been able to catch my breath and regroup with our TGI account team, but at the same time, look to project what might come towards us once this situation calms down.
The busy schedules and ever-changing travel itineraries with each event are things I look forward to when we restart. Some may see that as an unbearable challenge, but to me it has become a reality as I spent a third of last year on the road with US Soccer.
This year proves to be different, and throws another challenge at us, as TGI awaits the restart of sports events in the new era; a post-pandemic reality.
By Chris Vendrely, Assistant Project Manager