SBD/August 21, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Union Ink Five-Year Jersey Sponsorship Extension With Bimbo Bakeries

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Bimbo stressed that it has strong name recognition throughout Latin America

The Union and club jersey sponsor Bimbo Bakeries signed a five-year extension, "valued at more" than $11M, or about $2.3M per year, according to John George of the PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL. The two sides "first signed a four-year sponsorship agreement" worth $12M in '11. Bimbo Bakeries USA Senior VP Vincent Melchiorre said that forming a partnership with the Union "has helped raise awareness about Bimbo itself." He added, "It helped people understand who we are, what we do and how to pronounce our name (Beembo)." The new, expanded partnership "includes Bimbo and the Union working together on grass-roots youth soccer tournaments that will take place in four or five" MLS markets including Philadelphia. Melchiorre said that going forward, the company also will "look for ways to promote many of the brands Bimbo distributes, which include Stroehmann and Arnold bread products, Thomas’ English Muffins and Entenmann’s baked goods." The Union "added three new major marketing partners this season: Comcast Xfinity and SEPTA and Philadelphia Insurance Cos." Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said that all three multiyear deals "were in the 'mid-six figure' per year" range. Among the other companies to renew or sign sponsorship deals with the Union this season "were Herr’s, Coca-Cola Co., Chipotle, Dave & Buster’s and Novo Nordisk." Union Exec VP & CRO Dave Rowan said that the club "renewed 19 of its 20 partnership deals up for renewal this year." He added that the "only one to drop out was MillerCoors" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/20).

NOT SWAPPING BRANDS: Rowan said that Bimbo "opted to not extend its leaguewide sponsorship package." The prior four-year, $12M deal "was split between the Union" and MLS. The big question that many Union fans have "relates to the design of the logo on the jersey." The word "BIMBO" in bright red letters on a white background with blue trim "gets attention whether you're a soccer fan or not." Both the Union and Bimbo "have stressed repeatedly that the brand has has strong and positive name recognition throughout Latin America and the United States' Hispanic community." But the anti-Bimbo sentiment "remains strong in a portion of the Union's core fan base, and especially among women." Melchiorre: "There were never any discussions about (putting) anything but the Bimbo logo on the jersey. The Bimbo logo is the brand logo that we use on teams throughout the world. We're going to stay consistent with that." In regard to whether Bimbo might consider using one of its other brand names instead of the controversial logo, Melchiorre said that this "won't be happening either." This comes despite the fact that two of its brands, Stroehmann's and Friehofer's, "have deep roots in the Philadelphia region." The same sentiment "extended to swapping the international Bimbo logo for the Bimbo Bakeries USA logo, which takes inspiration from the American flag" (PHILLY.com, 8/20).

Below is a chart for current jersey sponsors in MLS:

TEAM JERSEY SPONSOR TEAM JERSEY SPONSOR
Crew Barbasol Red Bulls Red Bull
DC United Leidos Revolution United Healthcare
Dynamo BHP Billiton Sounders Xbox
FC Dallas AdvoCare Sporting KC Ivy Funds
Fire Quaker Oats Timbers Alaska Airlines
Galaxy Herbalife Toronto FC BMO
Impact BMO Union Bimbo
Rapids Ciao Telecom Whitecaps Bell Canada
Real Salt Lake LifeVantage    
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