Last Updated Jan 12, 2011 8:00 PM EST
The deal gives Philadelphia $12 million over four years, which is roughly equal to the team's player salary budget. The soccer league is heavily dependent on sponsorship money as its TV audience is small and gate receipts are ticking up only slowly.
Shirt sales are a vital part of any football club's revenue. Shirts sell for about $90 and there's a strong correlation between fans who spend money following a team and those who own a shirt. The Philly Union was founded just last year, however, and its original, sponsorless shirts can still be bought or at least not replaced by fans unwilling to explain the vagaries of the Latino baked goods market to their friends.
The misunderstandings are already flowing: ESPNW, the sports site for women, published a piece yesterday titled, "Is the Union's new sponsorship sexist?" Many readers, writing in comments under the article, were not amused:
Here's some shocking news for you: many of the female Union fans you refer to (myself included) are aware of giant international businesses.Fair enough, but will the Union's female fans feel comfortable wearing a Bimbo shirt? Reaction on the Union's Facebook page ranged from "it's good for the club, just accept it" to outright dismay:
Kevin Obrecht: This is going to hurt in winning over the casual fan who has no idea of Bimbo being a big sponsor of football in Latin America. I will support the U no matter how ugly the jersey is and I don't care who sponsors them but we need to win over the casual fan and the money they bring in and this sponsorship deal hurts that.It could be worse. AC Milan was once sponsored by Pooh Jeans.