Fans' View

Fans’ View: Time for a new shirt sponsor

Photo: Earl Gardner

Well, that didn’t go as planned.

At one point in August, the Union were poised to snatch first place, only to find their worst form of the year at the absolute worst time. The season had some serious bright spots as a legitimate strike duo emerged in young Jack McInerney and wily vet Conor Casey, the back line showed sustained stretches of lockdown defense, and the midfield, well, existed.

Seeing as how the season’s over and I’m not one to stew on the shortcomings of what was truly a pretty strong season all things considered, it’s time to look to the future. The past is the past and the future holds many bright new things. Already, the Union leadership has promised to do what it takes to make the next step.

I’d like to propose one change connected to the next step: a new shirt sponsor.

With the Union’s four-year contract going into its last season, I say it’s time to say bye-bye to Bimbo.

Frankly, for all I can tell, Bimbo has been good to the Union, but there’s little that’s more degrading than walking around sporting a jersey to support your side while simultaneously promoting an “attractive but empty-headed young woman.” It’s just not a great look, especially when the Philadelphia area offers up some incredible options. And we’re all sick to death of the Union Bimbo commercial.

So, here in reverse order are my picks to replace Bimbo:

5. Tastykake

Why It Works: We know the Union are pro-baked goods based on their Bimbo ties, this would continue to rep for baked goods. But why not give it up to Philly’s beloved Butterscotch Krimpet farm and take this brand on?

Why It Doesn’t: It just seems weird to have basically a dessert company repping for a professional sports team.

4. Comcast/Xfinity

Why It Works: Imagine the amazing product integration! Union on TV all the time, with NBC-quality announcers, big stars attending games, and a pretty innocuous logo.

Why It Doesn’t: I want to throw my cable remote through the window every time I have to use it and hate Comcast customer service with the fire of 1000 suns. However, that’s also how I feel when I watch the Union midfield clog up … so maybe this does work!

3. Wawa

Why It Works: Wawa is a beloved local brand made good. A true “Delco underdog” success story. It projects an image of quality and portrays a story of hard work. Also HAVE YOU BEEN TO WAWA?!?! It’s amazing. I made it through the four years of college based at least 55 percent on their hoagies.

Why It Doesn’t: Maybe too small? I don’t know I can’t think of anything! Make this HAPPEN.

2. Yuengling

Why It Works: Yuengling is a national brand of beer with immediate recognition and the funding to potentially pull this off. How sweet would Yuengling look on jerseys? Very sweet. I have seen several of them being consumed in the Lot B prior to kickoff.

Why It Doesn’t: Snakes and Eagles are natural enemies. It would make for an awkward pairing in that regard. Also, I don’t know how MLS feels about alcohol branding on jerseys.

1. Victory Brewing Co.

Why It Works: The name alone should be enough to justify this. How awesome would it be to strut around with Victory on your chest and to watch the boys in blue emerge with that big V spelling out their intent to all comers. We also could probably get more delicious Victory brews in the stadium, which I think more than a few followers would enjoy.

Why It Doesn’t: Probably too small a company to put forth the money to become a jersey sponsor of an MLS club. Other than that, it seems like a no brainer.

I have no idea whether management will change up shirt sponsors or not, but Philly offers so many good opportunities for excellent branding that I’d like to see a jersey without a negative stereotype on it. Then again, maybe I’m just an attractive empty-headed young man.

58 Comments

  1. How about we truly try to make the team the best by giving the club what they need the most $$$$ I don’t care if Hooker Headers or Risqué video or Bimbo bakeries or the catholic church go on the jersey as long as its the highest bidder ….

    • yeah what he said…highest bidder please…Bimbo is much less offensive to me than gambling websites, banks, herbalife or the USArmy

      • yes

      • It’s better than MLM schemes, sure, but I disagree with the notion that if Bimbo bids $1 more than the next highest, you go with them. The sponsor doesn’t matter a heck of a lot, but it does matter. Whether you like it or not, plenty of people look at that logo and choose not to buy a shirt or a jacket or what have you for thmeselves or their kids. It’s just that the cost of picking an unappealing sponsor is difficult to quantify.

        To play devil’s advocate, however, Bimbo IS an established sponsor in Mexico and elsewhere, and so it might confer a greater legitimacy in some ways than another sponsor.

  2. I was also considering a post about needing to ditch Bimbo. Great minds and all that, I guess.
    .
    First, MLS does allow beer sponsors. Chivas has Corona.
    .
    I think Wawa, Tastykake, and Victory are too local. The point behind a jersey sponsor is that the company gets advertising out of it during the game, when there aren’t any commercials otherwise. Those companies advertising to people in Seattle, LA, Denver, Houston, etc is just a waste of money.
    .
    There are a few other local companies to add to the list, though. Subaru has their US headquarters in Cherry Hill. Astra Zenica and Teva Pharmaceuticals both have their US headquarters in the area. (full disclosure: I work for Teva.) Teva already sponsors the Phillies ball cap every year, and for a couple years they had one of their products on the wall behind the Eagles press conference. The big one they push – both with the Phillies and Eagles – is their asthma inhaler. But both companies have a wide enough portfolio of medicines that they could realistically pick one to advertise on a jersey.
    .
    Two other NJ based national companies are Campbell’s Soup and Burlington Coat Factory. Pep Boys and Sunoco are more Philly companies.
    .
    Another interesting local company is NutriSystem, especially with the recent signing by RSL and the Galaxy’s partnership with Herbalife.
    .
    Comcast and Yuengling both fit the bill, as you mentioned – local companies with a national recognition (still growing in Yuengling’s case; I don’t think they’re available on the west coast, for example.) Any of those, though, are better than Bimbo. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain “say beembo” to people. I had one friend say to me, while seeing my daughter and another kid with Mexican league jersey, “Is ‘bimbo’ on the chest like that fad when girls had ‘cute’ and other things on their ass?”
    .
    Yeah, the U can almost certainly find another local company to give them $3 mil a year…

    • Doesn’t Bimbo just own a bunch of regional baked-goods labels in the states, like Stroehmann’s, anyway? Why not put Stroehmann’s on the jersey? Then, when the Union are out in, say, Salt Lake City, put whatever bakery Bimbo owns out there.

    • Sacrilege I know, but why does it have to be a local company? It’s just a sponsor — necessary evil at best. I think the sponsor often ends up local for its own reasons, but that’s far from universal.

      • Doesn’t have to be. I’m just saying there are plenty of other companies who might have interest who are also local like Bimbo. I’m all for opening it up to others interested in the national advertising.

    • What the hell does 98% generic drugs maker Teva make that would work on a jersey? Though seeing “Plan B One Step” on the jersey would be hilarious.

      Now Astra Zeneca. Now that works. We could have Nexium on the kits. Perfect for everyone who has to stomach Nick Sac running the show.

      • ProAir HFA inahlers (which aren’t generic, but branded). They already advertise with both the Phillies and Eagles with this one. There’s also QVar (another asthma drug) and QNasil (an inhaler for treating allergies).
        .
        Azilect (another branded drug, not generic) is used to treat parkinson’s disease.
        .
        Copaxone is used with a lot of advertising, though usually related to MS specific stuff, such as the City to the Shore bike ride.
        .
        There are other brand drugs, too. As you mentioned there are women’s health stuff; there’s also a series of oncology drugs. ProAir would be the most likely, though, given their past deals with local sports teams.

    • Tastykake is a horrible idea. They are a small local company that we can’t forget almost went out under a few years ago.

      Victory, as great as it would be, is far too small.

      Wawa can fit the bill in that there have expanded to the point where they are no longer just a Philly Area company. They are currently in 6 stated and looking to expand further, but still might be too small.

      Yuengling could possibly work. They have become a regionally recognized brand over the past 5 years up and down the east coast and branching into the Midwest and should have the money to become a sponsor. However they just made their first forray into sports sponsorship with a NASCAR team, so they may wait to see how that works before branching out further,

      Lastly, as much as I hate them, Comcast would be the best fit. They have plenty of money to give the team and are a true national brand.

  3. Can’t we just be happy to have a lucrative sponsor deal with a company that isn’t controversial or based around a pyramid scheme? For the love of God.

  4. But Bimbo is packed with goodness and baked with love. I mean isn’t it nice to know slice by slice that something nutritious can be so delicious too?

  5. Honestly, while I appreciate the sentiment and the speculation, the fact that anyone would willingly put up sponsorship money should be appreciated. Most of the companies mentioned don’t need the minor up-tick that MLS sponsorship would bring in terms of people in contact with the brand, and BIMBO is a pretty obvious choice given it’s local headquarters and only marginal name recognition (in the States, anyway). I’d love to see a more seamless integration of the logo, and probably someone outbid BIMBO in the near future, but it’s the least of my concerns about this team right now. It’s still free money.

  6. Unless the Union add “busting” to their name, I can’t see Yuengling as their shirt sponsor

  7. i want BIMBO to stay. i would love to have a tournament where all the bimbo sponsored teams play each other. “the bimbo cup”….or something.

    it seems to me that everyone who gets offended by the name is looking to be offended anyway. so if its not this , its that or the other……

    tastykake can kiss my ass anyway. i think its $1.69 for a coconut JR nowadays? who the hell do they think they are?

    • See John Ling’s post above. Some people are just sick of having to explain “Beeeembo” to others. And the fact that those questions come up demonstrates that the sponsor isn’t just “free money” — you have to take into account the cost of putting something idiotic on your shirts.

  8. Unless you’re from around here and grew up with the name, “Wawa” sounds almost as stupid as “Bimbo”.

  9. Non issue for me. I’ll gladly take the Bimbo over a drug company.

  10. Boom boom boom, let me hear you say Bimbo,
    I say boom boom boom, now everybody say Bimbo… BIMBO!

    (How has this not become a chant already? I know it’s a chant for a corporate sponsor, but it just seems like too much fun to pass up.)

  11. I don’t mind Bimbo. Whenever the Union were on national TV, I missed hearing J.P. Dellacamera say “packed with goodness and baked with love”

  12. It’s all in your head kid. You’re embarrassed to wear it around.. then don’t wear the jersey around.

    it’s bad enough that most people won’t know what team you’re wearing anyway.

    Also – complaining about bimbo is so early 2011.

    • I’m less complaining about Bimbo, more making suggestions for the future. I can take a joke with the best of them, I think we can all agree it makes our team look like one especially with what looks like a bumper sticker plastered across the front.

  13. Earl Gardner says:

    All I hear is Wahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Why are people so insecure?

    • Because some of us raise girls. 🙂

      I won’t buy my little girl or my wife a Union jersey because of the sponsor.

      • Dap to Dan for this comment, I wasn’t aiming to make a political statement, but I do support this view. Like it or not it’s a label and some fans who root for the union are not male. It’s literally wearing around a label, has little to do with insecurity.

      • On the other hand, my wife was very happy when I bought her a jersey.

      • Honest question for parents: would you be more comfortable with your child sporting “Dick’s” across their chest? What about “BJ’s” or Kumho”? Would the name of an alcoholic beverage be better?

        I find it interesting that you wouldn’t buy one for your wife. A friend of mine, a high school teacher and mother of two, proudly wears her Bimbo/Union jersey. I have no doubt that she’d wear it proudly to school if they let her wear a jersey.

        She hated the whole thing at first, but then realized that she’s a grown woman and if people want to childishly read something out of context that’s their problem, not hers.

      • Both of my girls rock jerseys (17 and 12). The sponsor and the “american” conotation of the word is a non- issue.

        “Why do you have Bimbo on your chest” giggle, giggle….. “It’s pronounced Beembo, it’s a bread company”….. “oh”…..

        Kids could have much, much worse conversations.

      • Ditto

      • To JJ — I’m sure my wife would do the same thing. She’d laugh at it. Then she’d double down on it and make a really obnoxious and dirty wisecrack that would go far beyond the sponsor’s name. 😉 (She loves the shopping center out on Chemical Road in Plymouth Meeting where the big sign for Giant is right next to the equally big sign for Dick’s. Yes, really.)

        It’s just how I felt about it when raising a girl. She’d probably laugh too now that she’s older, but I certainly wouldn’t want her to get blindsided by it at a younger age.

        And … uh … no, Dick’s would not be better on the jersey. 😉

    • Sieve subcomandante of IMPOTENTe' says:

      I believe it is time to revive my company IMPOTENTe’ to become a jersey sponsor and then we’ll see a bunch of tough guys go WAHHHHHHHH

  14. kingkowboys says:

    The jersey sponsorship by a company named Bimbo and having that across the jersey’s is annoying; however, I don’t care at all if they put up a ton of money for this team.

    Have to agree that any purely local companies like Victory, Wawa, and Tastycake are not going to fork over the money for the shirt advertisement. Their money would be better served advertising in the stadium and on TV locally. None of those brands exist outside the Mid Atlantic, so why advertise nationally if you don’t ship nationally.

    My vote would certainly be for Yuengling. I think they have a large enough distribution area to benefit the most from a jersey sponsorship. There script logo is pretty cool. It’s still local, and presumably afford the cost of that jersey space.

    I really don’t want to see Comcast or Verizon on the jerseys. Definitely not Comcast since I am completely biased toward Verizon but that’s just me. I wouldn’t want either because i think it opens to door to exclusivity. I wouldn’t want any reason to diminish the availability of union programming on the opposite brand.

    I’m all for the highest bidder right now. I would give the local discount/boost (whatever you want to call it) to Yeungling if they ever showed an interest. Meaning if it’s 10 mil (random number) I would give it to them for 8 just because it’s local.

  15. Victory would be great, but I can’t see them having the cash for that, and they just had to expand dramatically to meet their current demand, all of which is generated with minimal marketing. Bimbo’s fine with me, just wish they’d integrate the color scheme with the Union’s existing gear.

  16. My favorite thing about Bimbo is that in the commercial the bear flies in on a hot air balloon, prances around with the kids who were playing soccer, then flies away with one of them.

    Pedo Bear!

  17. Thanks to Seth for all your contributions to this great page. I hope you don’t think we’re ganging up on you. I have a big problem with “Frankly, for all I can tell, Bimbo has been good to the Union, but there’s little that’s more degrading than walking around sporting a jersey to support your side while simultaneously promoting an “’attractive but empty-headed young woman.’” Here’s why: Bimbo has been great to the Union. They have totally overpaid for that shirt sponsorship. Compare this team with its deal to the other teams in the league. The deal is incredible. It’s practically a charitable donation to a fledgling organization. It’s awesome. You have understated Bimbo’s sponsorship in a mighty way. Furthermore, there are so many more degrading things that someone could wear that I can’t even count them for you. Wearing the insignia of a disgraced financial institution? Which one? The one that helped wreck a global economy or the one that covered up $160 billion illegal transactions with Iran. How about a fast food company that’s made billions serving barely-recognizable-as-food products to a nation of emerging hyperglycemics? No? You prefer the anti-LGBT one? Not degrading enough for you? what about “Roethlisberger” or “Vick.” Now those are degrading letters to wear on your jersey.

  18. Sieve subcomandante of IMPOTENTe' says:

    Just so long as its not Widner University I am all for a change.

    • “Same sponsorship interview? Remember, firm handshake, display national appeal, and give them a high number. One of us is going to make this a better team.”
      “Really? WIDENER University?”
      (gets up and walks away)

  19. I’m fine with Bimbo now after some intial trepitation, in fact I think it looks pretty good on the Bethlehem Steel kit. I would really like it if they replicated the Club America bright yellow kit as their official away kit. Club America also has Bimbo as a sponsor and IMHO that logo with those colors just looks very very cool.

  20. How about Sheetz. It’s better than Wawa and maybe it can convince them to come in and finally conquer Philly with their superior foodstuffs.

  21. This is insulting to a sponsor who has been nothing, but good to the club.

  22. If being sponsored by the largest bakery company in the United States, and the largest bread manufacturing company in the World means having to deal with 1920’s slang emblazoned on a shirt then so be it.

    Is it honestly worse than something like Dick’s or BJ’s?

    And while the suggested alternatives aren’t bad, you can easily turn ANYTHING into a negative (Red Bull=Pink Cow). Victory? God help up if we do anything but win. Yuengling? Congrats, a new euphemism for the male anatomy. And what about the fact that those are companies that brew alcoholic beverages? Is having your child sport the name of a beer on their chest instead of teaching them that some words have multiple meanings preferable or just easier?

  23. Great article!!! This needed to be written!!! Wait,scratch that, was on the wrong page. This is idiotic. I can’t support this article.

    Here’s the problem -why would any of those potentials want to sponsor the Union? For the attractive and exciting brand of soccer? For the one playoff spot in 4 years? What’s that worth? 15 teams have shirt deals. 6 of those sponsors are foreign companies (VW,Corona,Bimbo sponsor other teams) ,with Bell Canada and Bank of Montreal. Of the 9 remaining, 3 are MLM companies, with Herbalife facing pyramid scheme accusations and that it possibly causes liver issues.Red Bull owns the team and SEA has Paul Allen as a part owner, hence XBOX. That leaves Quaker, Barbasol, UnitedHealthcare and Alaska Airlines fitting your requirement to be suitable for your girlfriend. Comcast doesn’t need to advertise. In many areas they are your only choice if Verizon isn’t wired there or you cant get LOS for Dish/DirecTv. Tastykake isn’t even locally owned anymore. In the grand scheme of things, we’re talking de minimis money here, but to the SugarmanDaddy, probably pretty big bucks. Like, I don’t need to sink dollar one into funding payroll big. For a cap of $2.8M, a $3M shirt deal looks pretty tidy. Now run along and buy that retro BSFC shirt and support the club. And be happy you can.

  24. Would love to see a logo, no matter the sponsor, incorporated into the jersey more. Shallow, yes, but that’d be a big improvement over the current one.

  25. james lockerbie says:

    O.K. I think everyone understands how much bimbo has paid for the opportunity to place their company name on our teams jersey. I think Mr.Fink is asking a good question, if the contract is about to expire. Now would be a good time to think about entertaining other companies as sponsors. I would like to suggest to everyone to use facebook reach out to a company you would like to see on the teams jersey and write them a note. Maybe someone will step up or maybe other companies will be interested in investing with the team in other ways

  26. james lockerbie says:

    And yes if Bimbo and Widener continue to be sponsors. I hope the Union require them to make new commercials for the upcoming season!

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