The pandemic has affected every sector across the globe, including sports and sporting events. While many sports events have been cancelled, postponed, or even suspended for a whole season, FIBA (the International Basketball Federation) successfully hosted a recent tournament in Puerto Rico under a carefully constructed “bubble” format.
From February 18-21, FIBA AmeriCup held its final qualifying window to the AmeriCup 2022 tournament without spectators at the historic Roberto Clemente Coliseumlocated in the metro city of San Juan, including teams from Mexico, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Virgin Islands, and Canada. The “bubble” environment mirrored that of last year’s NBA playoffs in Orlando, with players and FIBA staff hosted at the Verdanza Hotel, an independent property located in the heart of Puerto Rico’s Isla Verde district with more than 16,000 square feet of versatile indoor and outdoor meeting space with room for up to 400 guests.
“Puerto Rico has been and will always be home for FIBA. It is an honor to go back to San Juan to celebrate women in basketball. The FIBA Women’s AmeriCup is our most pinnacle competition in the Americas, and we expect to see world-class athletes battling for this cup next June” said FIBA Regional Office Americas Executive Director Carlos Alves.
FIBA, the Puerto Rico Health Department and Verdanza Hotel representatives created a strategic plan to ensure strict health and safety measures. FIBA limited teams to 25 representatives each, with the Verdanza housing each team on a dedicated floor, with specified meal rooms. In addition to daily PCR tests for all delegations, extra security was brought on to check temperatures as teams arrived from practices and games. Another step taken was adding various exits leading to team busses to avoid gatherings in one location.
Overall, the event was highly successful, generating $450,000 in hotel impact, which translates to 2.5 times in indirect economic impact.
“Particularly as we begin to host sporting events again, health and safety remains at the core of everything we do in Puerto Rico,” said Carlos Deliz, Regional Sales Manager, Sports Tourism of Discover Puerto Rico. “The FIBA AmeriCup was reflective of how successful events can be hosted, with careful planning alongside trusted partners to ensure the wellbeing of both residents and visitors; we are thrilled with the turnout and look forward to future events across our beautiful Island.”