Union’s sponsor likely to lend both fame and good fun

On one of the premiere soccer blogs, the Philadelphia Union’s new sponsor already has a place within its top 10 list of “Funny shirt sponsors.”

Mexico-based mega bakery Bimbo (pronounced in Spanish as “Beembo”) comes in eighth on the blog Who Ate All the Pies for its sponsorship of America, a professional Mexican club — after such dandies as Italian club AC Milan’s early 1980s Pooh Jeans logo and German club FC Nurnberg’s more recent Mister Lady.

All joking aside, the sponsorship is a big deal for the local soccer club’s relevance, according to team officials and die-hard fans. The money from the four-year deal worth 147 million pesos ($12 million) will help the team spend more on popular players in the same vein as recent Major League Soccer teams’ signings of stars David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

“More than anything, it can improve the product on the field,” said Mike Naioti, one of the ranking members of the Union’s 4,000-strong “Sons of Ben” fan club. “And look at the Eagles in the last decade. They’ve been as popular as they have because they’re successful.”

The Union will be the fifth professional soccer team internationally to don the Bimbo brand name, team CEO Nick Sakiewicz said yesterday.

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