CHESTER, Pa. – During the press conference to announce Bimbo Bakeries USA as the official jersey sponsor for the Philadelphia Union, Manager Peter Nowak joked that team’s 1-0 exhibition win over Chivas de Guadalajara last September probably helped to bring about the sponsorship.
In reality, the wheels were set in motion long before that, and talks continued long after. But following Tuesday’s official announcement and unveiling of the new Bimbo (pronounced “Beembo”) jersey, Union CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz admitted that playing well in international friendlies against Chivas, Celtic FC and Manchester United last season “helped in the credibility realm” when dealing with a giant corporation.
Grupo Bimbo, the Mexican parent of Bimbo Bakeries USA, is a worldwide name in the soccer community and the jersey sponsor of three of Mexico’s Primera Division teams – América, Chivas and Monterrey – as well as the Costa Rican side Deportiva Saprissa.
“If we get blown out 5-0, maybe they don’t pay attention yet,” Sakiewicz told MLSsoccer.com. “They know we can play good soccer and stand toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the world. That again is why we [play international opponents] – to show that Philadelphia Union is a serious club with serious partners that plays serious football.”
With this sponsorship in place – a four-year deal valued at roughly $12 million – the Union not only have added financial flexibility but also the ability to continue to grow internationally. The proximity of Bimbo Bakeries USA’s headquarters in Horsham, Pa., is appealing, but the extent of Grupo Bimbo’s global reach is why Sakiewicz said it's the “absolute best partner we could possibly find.”
“This will help us with more global notoriety because Bimbo is such a juggernaut brand in Central and South American and other parts of the world,” Sakiewicz said. “This is going to be big news in Mexico and will help elevate the Union brand.
“This is all part of the strategy of playing Manchester United and Celtic and Chivas; our goal is to be the most admired American soccer brand,” he added. “You can’t just say that and it happens. You have to do things over many, many years to achieve that mission. And this is another step in becoming one of the most admired American soccer brands.”
When asked if this deal would help generate excitement within the team’s Hispanic fan base, Sakiewicz hedged.
“We’re connecting with the Hispanic fan base through our football and through our style of play,” he said.
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