Bimbo Joins the Fold

By far, the biggest soccer news of the day was the announcement that Bimbo Bakeries has signed a four year, $12 million dollar deal to serve as the Philadelphia Union jersey sponsor.  As part of the deal, the Bimbo logo will feature prominently on the team’s jerseys while the company will also take an active role in the Union’s youth soccer efforts.  The Union will also have an opportunity to play in a a training camp with other Bimbo franchises, including Saprissa, Chivas and America. Bimbo’s US headquarters are in the Philly area and its name has been penetrating the market in the area for years.

The deal isn’t limited to the Union.  Bimbo will have a sponsorship role with MLS and will be the league’s baked good sponsor.  The brand will also promote a Soccer Mom of the year contest that will provide the winner with a trip to MLS Cup.  Bimbo ads will likely be apparent on league broadcasts and within stadiums.

After the announcement, a number of fans were critical of the choice because of the English connotations of the word bimbo.  People have predicted mocking from non-soccer fans and 15 year old girls getting suspended from school for wearing a Bimbo jersey.  Yet our (admittedly informal) survey revealed that most people will be pretty accepting of the name. This is especially so because Bimbo is expecting to roll out its own identity (rather than the Arnold’s, Boboli, Thomas’, etc… brands it owns) this year.  Bimbo is already a household name in many Hispanic families, and the company hopes to expand that penetration nationwide.

Coming off a three week period that saw the end of the Best Buy and Glidden relationships with teams in MLS, this is great news for the league and the Union.