The Union announced Wednesday that they will continue their jersey sponsorship with global bakery conglomerate Bimbo for four more years, through 2023. But the team and brand finally answered fans who don’t like the pejorative mainstream usage of “bimbo” by agreeing to use one of the company’s sub-brands on the Union’s away jerseys.
It’s the first time in MLS history that a team will have different brands on its home and away jerseys.
“We’re proud to continue the partnership with Bimbo and their robust portfolio of brands," Union chief business officer Tim McDermott said in a statement. “With this multiyear deal, we’ve taken the foundation of the first agreement and built on it in a way that is progressive, not only for our club, but for MLS as a whole.”
Exactly which name will be on the away jersey isn’t known yet. The team also declined to state how much money the Union will make from the deal.
The last two times the Union and Bimbo signed deals, they did announce how much money was spent.
In 2011, Bimbo signed on for $3 million a year in a four-year deal that included a national MLS sponsorship. (The Union didn’t have a jersey sponsor in 2010, their inaugural season.) The next deal ran from 2015-19, delivering around $2.3 million per season. This one will run from 2020-23.
Some examples of brand names that could land on the away jersey include Entenmann’s, Arnold, Sara Lee, Thomas’ English Muffins and Artesano. The last of those replaced the Bimbo logo on the warmup jerseys used for the team’s playoff game this year, in what was a one-time deal.
(Coincidentally, that game was the first playoff win in team history.)
Two other Bimbo brands have decades of history in Pennsylvania. Stroehmann’s has roots in Williamsport that date to the 1920s. Freihofer’s was founded in Camden in 1883, then moved to Philadelphia a few years later.
Most of Bimbo’s history with soccer was made out of its worldwide headquarters in Mexico, where the company is the biggest seller of baked goods. In this decade, Bimbo’s name has been on jerseys of three of that country’s biggest clubs — Club América of Mexico City, Chivas of Guadalajara, and Monterrey — as well as Costa Rican power Saprissa. Right now, the Mexican teams have different jersey sponsors, but Saprissa is still going.
Bimbo has had a corporate presence in the Philadelphia area since 2008, when the company put its U.S. headquarters in Horsham after buying the George Weston company (Entenmann’s, Arnold and other brands). Three years later, Bimbo bought Sara Lee.
The Union’s announcement Wednesday also said that Bimbo and the team will “launch a new platform that will invest in youth development and community outreach,” including community service programs and working with local organizations to create youth soccer programs.
“We are excited at the prospect of featuring other fan favorite brands on the Union jerseys and looking forward to working side by side with the Philadelphia Union in the communities we call home,” Bimbo Bakeries USA senior vice president Vince Melchiorre said in a statement.
There will likely also be a second sponsor on Union jerseys next year. MLS is allowing teams to sell ads on one sleeve of jerseys beginning next year. The Union have yet to do a deal for that.