I wanted to follow up on the Chivas USA shirt sponsor news, because of the fantastic job that MLSsoccer.com and cdchivasusa.com have done on this story. Both sites have done a really magnificent job in explaining where this sponsorship came from, what it means for team and league, and - well, let the Chivas USA site explain for itself:
See? Explains everything.
Still, one must ask the question, why another sponsor whose brand is limited to the United Mexican States?
Well, maybe there's no reason for Extra to advertise in the United American States, but at least if they tried to, the FDA wouldn't slap them down for it. Last November's MLS Cup featured the two giant personalities of MLS against the biggest Cinderella in league history, and the winners? Multi-level marketers. Herbalife and Xango couldn't buy that kind of publicity. No, seriously, they couldn't. No one else would sell it to them.
It's easy and fun to kick MLS for this - I choose instead to congratulate Chicago, Columbus and DC United for acquiring sponsors that don't drag the brand down, and also Houston's sponsor logo is inoffensive. For all I know Amigo Energy are Illuminati cattle mutilators, but the hat is cute.
Besides, ITTET, finding a non-embarrassing sponsor is a global crisis. What is David Beckham wearing, now that he's gotten away from the MLS MLM? An ad for a freaking online gambling site. I wish I could have found a more legitimate site than the Daily Mail, but they did have a handy chart back in September. Look at all those Internet gambling sites. (And a tip of the hat to Aston Villa, although they've been sponsored in the past, and a cynic might wonder if they're going altruistic because no one wanted to pay their asking price.)
The Daily Mail even helped explain what Herbalife, Xango, Amway and Amigo Energy are playing at:
Frankly, we're lucky there are only three MLS sponsors that are humiliating to think about.
Okay, so what is Extra playing at? No one watching Chivas USA is going to shop there.
Well, the "multi-" in the CUSA website blurb ended with "year", not "million." Historically, though, Chivas USA has been terribly shy and modest about how rich and popular they are, so I don't want to read too much into that.
But this might be a case where, arguably, the sponsor does more for the club than the other way round. As a good Marxist, I detest jersey sponsorship in all its forms...but having a real company like Volkswagen on DC United is probably better than nothing. They probably didn't need VW for that particular brand - Christ, look at the local rivals - a racial slur and the Ex-Expos, plus I never understood why Washington, D.C. was supposed to be a hotbed of magic. But in a "world football" context, well, having a better sponsor than Manchester United must count for something.
So Chivas USA picks a Mexican company as a sponsor, precisely because it's a Mexican company. Bad enough the jerseys have to say "USA" on them - if they had "Taco Bell" on them as well, that would be too much to bear.
Of course, if Chivas USA really wanted to reflect the economy of Los Angeles these days, they'd be sponsored by a pot collective. Except "Herbal" whatever would look too much like "Herbalife."
My hunch is that as of this month, Extra will be telling its Mexican customers that they are an "Official Sponsor of CHIVAS!", with "USA" in one point font. Which would be a pretty good deal for Extra - and a great deal for Vergara, considering he might not even own the trademark anymore.
Or maybe Chivas USA had to settle for Extra because Chiva Cola wouldn't return Hunter's calls.