When Philadelphia Union and Bimbo Bakeries announced a four-year partnership Tuesday that places Bimbo’s logo front and center on the club’s jersey, the majority of attention centered around, naturally, the altered front of Philadelphia’s jersey.
The story that isn’t as overtly apparent is the transformational value a deal of this magnitude carries. The impact will be both immediate and lasting, effectively equating to a case study on the intertwinement of the business and competitive sides of soccer.
“This deal has a tremendous impact on every aspect of our organization,” Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz told philadelphiaunion.com. “The financial investment that Bimbo is making allows us to sign better players and invest in our player development system, allows us to invest in practice facilities and improvements to the stadium, allows us to do things on the financial side that we were maybe holding off on or couldn’t do before.”
For a second year club still very much in the process of building a foundation for sustained success, the resources acquired from multi-million dollar partnerships with companies like Bimbo and PPL EnergyPlus are nothing short of vital. There are also substantial opportunities for brand extension, a benefit that’s magnified with the club’s newest sponsor.
“Bimbo is going to take the Philadelphia Union brand to the marketplace at retail, so in stores like Acme and ShopRite, Walmart and Target, all these various retailers where Bimbo sells its products, there will be a Philadelphia Union presence,” Sakiewicz continued. “So no longer will you go into stores and only see the other teams featured – you’ll see the Philadelphia Union brand featured. Very few companies have the power to do that in a dramatic way the way Bimbo is going to do it. “
Beyond the retail activation component, Bimbo has an undeniably global appeal, as evidenced by their presence on five soccer kits worldwide. That was no small factor for an organization that has aspirations of being recognized as America's premier soccer brand.
“The other thing that Bimbo does for us is it elevates the Philadelphia Union brand, not only nationally but internationally,” said Sakiewicz. “You’re talking about a company that has a rich heritage of soccer in their blood. They’re on the front of two of soccer’s most illustrious and prestigious teams, Club America and Chivas Guadalajara, a third Mexican club, Monterrey, and Costa Rican power Saprissa. So this is a company that is very deeply rooted in soccer, which is going to help the Union brand nationally, from coast to coast, as well as overseas.”
In the minds of fans, though, brand awareness takes a backseat to on-field production. So while the value of Philadelphia’s jersey deal extends far beyond the white lines, it’s fair to wonder exactly how soon the impact will be felt where it matters most.
“It’s direct,” Sakiewicz said. “In about a week fans will begin to see the impact of this partnership because we’re going to be announcing some significant player signings.”
Not a bad early return on a partnership that will pay significant dividends for years to come.
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