Scoring a Branding Point for the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions

This past January, Vanderbilt Hall, located inside Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, once again played host to the annual J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (ToC). The world-renowned squash tournament, in Grand Central for the 21st time, welcomed fans, tourists, and commuters to watch the action, even if just for a few minutes before catching their train.

Creating an effective sports brand

For the third consecutive year, DBC played a key role in branding the ToC, including the signage, collateral, badges, and programs.

Our goals were straightforward: promote our client’s event throughout Grand Central, help provide a positive atmosphere that catered to squash fans, put sponsors in the spotlight, and craft our work so that it reflected everyone involved; from ToC producers, to the audience, all the way down to the players themselves.

Working within the guidelines provided by both Grand Central and J.P. Morgan is a challenge to reconcile. From the architecture of the terminal, both inside and out, to the brand guidelines by the fiercely protective bank's brand team. DBC worked with Squash Engine, the event's producer to push the envelope, and to use the 2018 brand to look towards the future.

Squash's Best, in their Larger than Life form

Welcoming you in, four 26-foot-tall banners were hung in the main concourse. The banners featured vibrant color photos of last year's champions and runner ups. Hundreds of thousands of people walk through this main concourse every day, and the towering banners raised the event's awareness and gave J.P. Morgan the rightful place it deserves, flying among the rafters.

A Branded Experience

Stepping foot into the stadium at Vanderbilt Hall, you were met with a massive glass-walled squash court complete with stands. The 6,000 SF space boasts five stunning beaux arts chandeliers, and sees daily traffic higher than 200,000 people. The signage needed to be prominent in this cozy yet busy space. Logos from 20+ sponsors, ToC logos, and player information were all carefully and strategically placed throughout to maximize impressions. 2018 saw the highest attended ToC to date, and in turn, sponsors maximized their ROI with overall impressions by fans and passersby. 

The creation of the ToC program was just as important as the signage was. Each attend would receive one, meaning thousands of eyes would peruse it. The information had to serve a purpose, and be on brand to both the ToC and J.P. Morgan. The ads inside the program were prominent enough for meaningful brand engagement, but placed in a way that made it seamless to read though the program. Managing each page of the book each year is where we're able to create real value for Squash Engine. We took ownership of the content, the ads from their sponsors/ad buyers to become the quality gatekeepers, and make sure that the design and print would be a step up from previous years.

DBC is full of event branding experts, making sure to understand the unique goals of our clients, and then relentlessly pursue them in every aspect of the event. An event like ToC requires timeliness and extreme organization and really highlights how our attention to every detail creates results. Sponsor's brands are important, and seamlessly integrating them into the fabric of the event is a task not done without plenty of care.

For more information about the tournament, visit

Are you producing a large event? Then let's talk about how we can impact the brand in a way that creates the most value for you.