Every professional tennis tournament needs its foot soldiers, and that’s certainly true for the Winston-Salem Open.
But just as important, or even more so, it takes strong corporate sponsorship for an ATP World Tour event to prosper.
That’s why the Winston-Salem Open is so blessed to have Champion as one of its three presenting sponsors.
The Winston-Salem-based company, a division of Hanesbrands, Inc., has been a leader in the sports clothing and apparel industry since 1919, and it has long been one of the city’s most-generous corporate citizens.
When Joel Coliseum hosted the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal between the United States and Spain in 2007, Champion was quick to get involved. When the Davis Cup returned in 2008 for a quarterfinal between the U.S. and France, Champion stepped up again.
No wonder that when Don Flow, the president of Winston-Salem Professional Tennis, began efforts to land this tournament last fall, he immediately turned to Champion.
"These events are a great opportunity for Winston-Salem," Senior Marketing Manager at Champion Cathy Marchant said. "We were thrilled to be invited to support them and showcase how Champion is a brand for all athletes and all sports. We are especially passionate about the opportunity to connect tennis fans with Champion active-wear for all their cross-training needs."
Claire Powell, the Vice President/General Manager of Champion Activewear, sits on the tournament’s executive board.
The company’s generosity extends far beyond the sporting arena.
"Our parent company, Hanesbrands Inc., is proud of its strong reputation for corporate social responsibility, which includes supporting the events and causes important to our surrounding communities," Marchant said. "Thanks to the generosity of our employees, we are one of the largest supporters of the Winston-Salem Arts Council and United Way of Forsyth County. We take these efforts very seriously and hope to continue to make a positive impact in the years to come."
Champion, of course, has carved out several niches in athletic apparel over the years.
It was among the earlier pioneers of the world-famous hoodie and has set the standard for style, durability and comfort for decades. It also pioneered mesh shorts to keep athletes comfortably cool, and more than 20 years ago it was the first company to develop a sports bra, the legendary Champion Jogbra.
Its various tennis apparel will be on display at the Winston-Salem Open in several ways.
Champion is outfitting event volunteers, staff, officials and ballboys. Players and VIPs will receive special apparel courtesy of the brand. And official Winston-Salem Open event apparel will be sold to the public, along with other Champion performance apparel, in a pop-up store in the complex’s merchandise and concession area.
The shirts, in particular, are classy and cool.
"Our partnership with the Winston-Salem Open is a long-term sponsorship that provides Champion with direct access to the active and impassioned tennis community," Marchant said. "This collaboration is also an exciting way to bring national media attention to our brand (with the tournament televised by CBS, ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel), an exciting sporting event and our local tennis community. We plan to maximize our presence at the Winston-Salem Open to both promote our brand as well as support tennis and its players."
Marchant encourages tennis fans to follow the company on Twitter at @ChampionUSA, and to check out the Facebook page and share how you play for exclusive deals and giveaways.