The Philadelphia Union announced a new four-year, $12 million contract with the international baked goods company Bimbo. This is the first company logo to ever be featured on the front of both the home and away Philadelphia Union Jerseys.
Bimbo Bakeries USA got it's start in 1984 when the Brand Grupo Bimbo extended its sales market to California and Texas, buying dozens of local bakeries along the way. Since then, Bimbo has acquired numerous other brands such as Thomas', Entenmann's, Boboli, and Stroehman Bakeries.
The company has also been linked to recent rumors with the financially strapped Tastykake Brand. The brand of Bimbo goods is setting 2011 as the major start to their sales in the United States. The Philadelphia Union is the fifth soccer team to earn the jersey sponsorship from the group. Three teams in Mexico (Chivas, Club America, Monterrey) and one team in Costa Rica (Saprissa) already carry the brand on the front of their jerseys.
There are a great deal of positives that come with this deal that many fans have overlooked. A major partnership like the one with Bimbo will allow the team extra financial stability, which is essential for a new club. The deal will also allow them to upgrade their practice facilities, have money to sign highly sought-after players, and allow for less financial impact on the fans through ticket sales.
Aside from the financial gains, the club has negotiated that the marketing power of Bimbo be at their disposal. The Union name will be seen in stores all over the country with their help. When asked, the club stated that it was not an attempt to relate to Hispanic immigrants and that they would rather do so with the club's play on the pitch.
This sponsorship does not just affect the Union; the entire MLS will benefit from the new deal. Bimbo will now advertise in every stadium in the league, and they are also running a "Soccer Mom of the Year" award with the Union as a partner.
This deal has definitely come with mixed emotions for Philadelphia Union fans. Complaints about the size and color of the logo clashing with the blue and gold have been voiced repeatedly, and the name has also been cause for concern: though it is pronounced as "Beembo," the word's spelling might leave uninformed people a little skeptical. A Bimbo is defined as "a foolish, stupid, or inept person" or also as "an attractive, but stupid young woman with loose morals."
The name may be pronounced "Beembo," but the fact remains that it is spelled the same way as the derogatory word. Many men and women feel that it is not right to have a logo that can be taken in such a way and will be boycotting the jersey. As for the logo design itself, the most popular reference to the way it looks is "like a bumper sticker was just slapped on the front as an afterthought."
Many fans are calling for a kit redesign. Another option would be to put the Bimbo Bakeries USA logo on the front instead.
In the end, it comes down to the team. The Philadelphia Union executives decided that this would be the best way to expand the Union brand and accomplish their goals. Many of the skeptics will probably turn into believers when the Union shows that they will use this money responsibly. It is without a doubt a great move by the Philadelphia Union.
Although many jokes will be made by Union fans and rival fans alike, in a year, the joke will be lost. A true fan doesn't have to agree with the decisions their team makes but supports them nonetheless.
I am a true fan and am thankful for the new sponsorship and know that even though the sponsorship is there, the logo you should concentrate on is the one right above Bimbo's. I, for one, will be there for every game to support the team.