- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On January 12, 2011
- 2 Comments
- 2011 MLS SuperDraft, John Rooney
By Geoff Reid
First of all, apologies for being away a while. Busy time of year for all of us the last few weeks and life gets in the way. This time of year the game domestically really starts to get exciting with the MLS Combine, followed by the Superdraft and NSCAA Convention before clubs head into their respective pre-seasons. This year the Philadelphia Union will spend part of their time in Florida and will do for the next four years due to their newest sponsorship partner, and the first jersey sponsor in club history, Bimbo.
The Bakery giant is a name that most soccer fans are familiar with in North and central America. Three of the top Mexican clubs have it as their own jersey sponsors (Chivas Guadalajara, Club America, and Monterrey) as well as Costa Rican giants Deportivo Saprissa. So as CEO Nick Sackiewicz said in the press conference it was a privilege to be part of a special group. Now of course it’s pronounced “Beem-bo” due to the Spanish language, but the English spelling will be one of hot topic for supporters of rival clubs to poke fun at the Union.
Now if we put all the banter aside for a little bit, as a Union supporter and season ticket holder I think this is a fantastic deal and here’s why: First off from a business standpoint, the deal is $12million over four years, which equals to $3m a season. That’s extremely good business, especially in the current economic climate. Most companies would love an injection of $3m each year through sponsorship. It also shows that the company itself must be doing well if they can dish out that money. For the next three years the Union will be receiving $8m per season in sponsorship revenues from PPL and Bimbo together by themselves. No it’s not as much as what the Sounders are receiving from Microsoft for XBOX 360 and the Galaxy for Herbalife, but it’s also worth reminding that both the MLS Cup winners and runners up from this past season are league originals and still can’t find a jersey sponsor. The brand of Bimbo is also not exactly an unknown commodity either. As mentioned earlier, they already have sponsorship deals with three Mexican clubs and one Costa Rican. They’re supporters of the beautiful game which is another key component of why this is a great deal not only for the Union, but MLS as a whole. On top of all that, they are the biggest bakery company in the world, and are close to buying out a certain local favorite in the Delaware Valley named TastyKakes. And to put the icing on the Cake (no pun intended), their US Corporate Headquarters are based in Horsham, PA so even with the international brand the name carries, there is also that local touch which is very important for this club to have the local footprint stamped on it in many different ways and creates an important identity.
Also mentioned earlier part of the deal will see the team spend part of pre-season down in Florida the next couple of years. That sure beats spending it on the snow covered Carolina’s like they did a year ago. The extent of how long and who they will play is not determined as of yet. But this is an important day in the history of the club, make no mistake about that. And while of course the haters will be mocking it for sure, I guarantee that FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution, Sporting Kansas City, and the Chicago Fire (who recently completed the final year of a three year deal with Best Buy) would love to have the same sort of deal in place. The bottom line is rival fans can mock it all they want, but the Union just got themselves a very good deal, and the club is going to be in a much better position if not on the field, certainly off it compared to a lot of other clubs in the league.