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A new look for an old shirt

On the long narrative arc of Philadelphia Union history, the BIMBO Bakeries brand has a special place.

The Horsham Township bakery serves as the team’s only ever jersey sponsor, a mainstay on Union merchandise since 2011 and as ubiquitous to the Blue and Gold as Adidas’s Three Stripes. That the global brand has local offices is still news to most Philadelphians, but the iconic red, white, and blue logo has adorned soccer jerseys seemingly since the company’s inception in 1998.

Whether or not there have ever been other suitors for the this highly visible role is unclear. This partnership of goals and gluten rose in the team’s second year and, though requiring details to be kneaded out in each instance, has been renewed twice over. The most recent renewal paired with a subtle but not unnoticed league rule change: clubs could opt for different sponsors on their home and away jerseys.

The Union finally took the plunge and became the first Major League Soccer team to do so.

Ring the bell

https://twitter.com/PhilaUnion/status/1218533165532426241?s=20

On Saturday night, four Union stalwarts made their way to The Wells Fargo Arena to ring the 76ers’s victory bell.

Author’s note: Head Coach Jim Curtin may have also been officially invited to the event, or the long-tenured coach may have simply dropped in. He was indeed lurking in this shot.

The players were there of course to put another brick on the 5 for 5 narrative wall. But more immediately, they were there to showcase the team’s new secondary strip.

Replacing the parent brand, Artesano is a tertiary line under the Sara Lee label described by the company thusly:

Artesano Bakery Bread is “an Artisan style bread. Sliced thick with a mouthwateringly soft texture, Artesano transforms the routine into remarkable. With its rich flavor and distinctly creamy character, the flavors you love just tase better. Artesano is made without high fructose corn syrup, added flavors or colors.”

A disdain for the Oxford Comma and a missing em dash not withstanding, this bread sounds delicious. Given recent events, the bread itself may fall under the #SexySzn umbrella.

As a step for the club, it’s a big one.

The big picture

Union fans may never have used, or have used upon them, the word “bimbo” in its slang form. They may never have called Jim Curtin’s slim slacks “Gas pipes” either (or any of these other 56 Victorian-era slang words, which are useful in many contexts).

The fact of the matter is this: the word has a connotation, such a connotation was a barrier to many, and those for whom it was a barrier have been vociferous in their complaints about it and tight-wadded in their purchase of Union merchandise (“tightwad” is also a slang word with origins that date back as early as 1906).

Union brass, BIMBO brass, league brass, and whomever else was involved in this decision listened to Union fans and gave them an option.

In the long narrative arc of Philadelphia Union history, that’s progress

 

 

11 Comments

  1. nice article Chris, certainly a lot to chew on, I’m not trying to butter you up, just saying, some posts you can tell the author’s just loafing through it, I know I sound crusty I just think it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff, the shirt sponsorship has meant a lot of dough to the club and for that we should be thankful, in time I think their fortunes will rise, and periodically we supporters will get a crumb or two thrown our way

  2. When are they going to show up (arise) in the online shop ?

  3. The Artesano jerseys are pretty ugly, the font definitely being the worst part. I genuinely don’t know Bimbo is such a big deal to people. At least 7 other clubs have Bimbo has a jersey sponsor globally and it’s likely not the same hot bed issue for them.

    • I have said this same thing in previous comments. It’s pronounced “Beembo” . But the English version as a derogatory term is very unfortunate. I have heard kids in school being asked to remove a jersey with Bimbo on it. So the sponsorship is good for the club but not for merch sales!

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