Relationship. Connection. Rootedness in the community.
These are common themes mentioned by small businesses on why they find value in becoming sponsors for sports team such as the Greenville Triumph.
For Dr. Philip Hunt with Wood Creek Dental, becoming a Triumph sponsor was as much about supporting the values the team represents as it was about promoting the dental practice.
“We’re happy to have our name up on the field because we’re proud of what the Triumph is doing,” Hunt says.
With offices in Greenville and Landrum, Wood Creek Dental employs about 50 people and is in its third year as a Triumph sponsor. Hunt says he is impressed how the players, coaches and staff are involved in the community and in encouraging young players to take up soccer regardless of financial means.
Fred Bertha, director of soccer operations for Spartanburg United Soccer Academy, agrees and says the mentoring relationship between his organization and Triumph players and coaches brings value far beyond the financial benefits of being a sponsor.
“They’re big at helping out the people we try to help out,” Bertha says.
Beyond that, he adds, the Triumph has helped increase the level of interest in soccer across the region. By showing that professional soccer is a career path for players who have the drive and talent, the Triumph is attracting more players to pursue the sport beyond the recreational level, Bertha says.
For Triumph owner Joe Erwin, although the financial support of sponsors is vital to the club’s success, the more important mission is bringing people together.
“We approach [sponsorships] as a great opportunity to join us in a mission that is bigger than just a soccer club,” Erwin says. “We’ve talked from day one that soccer is a platform, but our mission is to bring people together.”
Erwin says that for a club that is only three years old — with two of those years disrupted by the COVID pandemic — the club has managed to grow from starting with 19 corporate sponsors to close to 100.
“We can’t do what we do without them,” he says.