If you don't follow Major League Soccer, you might not have heard of the Philadelphia Union, the second year MLS team.More of you have probably never heard of Grupo Bimbo, a large Mexican bakery company that distributes many popular bread and baked goods in the United States, including Arnold, Oroweat, Thomas', Entenmann's, Stroehmann, Freihofer's and Boboli (Bimbo Bakeries' U.S. headquarters is in Horsham, Pa., just outside Philadelphia). That's about to change, as the Philadelphia Union announced today a four-year partnership to put "Bimbo" on the front of the team's jersey and on all Union team apparel.
This would seem to be great news for the second year team. An affiliation with a large international company with ties to soccer (Bimbo sponsors three Mexican soccer teams and a Costa Rican professional soccer team) and an influx of much-needed revenue ($12 million over the four-year deal). But not so fast. The Union's loyal fan base is already up in arms over the new sponsorship deal, which puts "BIMBO" in prominent all-capital letters across the chest of the official team jersey. For the record, it's pronounced "Beembo."
Within hours of the announcement, fans posted angry comments on the Philadelphia Union's Facebook page and photo albums. They do not like the jerseys, they do not like the name "BIMBO," and, most notably, many of the team's female fans who commented said they feel the team is alienating them with this name choice. At least one man said he wouldn't bring his girls' soccer team to a game now that the jerseys have "BIMBO" on them.
When I first heard about this via Twitter, I thought it was an unfortunate name but didn't think it would be taken so seriously. What do you think? Is this just a whole lot of overreaction over nothing, or did the Union alienate its female fan base with the Bimbo sponsorship deal?