Lost amidst the general euphoria of being at the Estadio Azteca was the strangest detail about yesterday’s match: the shirt sponsor for both Club America and Monterrey is a bread company called Bimbo. That’s right: Bimbo. Apparently they’re the same company that makes Wonderbread; think about that next time you’re at a Safeway store near you.
What this means, of course, is that the word “BIMBO” is emblazoned in capital letters across each player’s jersey. It reminds me of the Canadian team arriving at the 2000 Sydney Olympics proudly wearing Roots clothing. “Roots,” of course, is Aussie slang for “fuck,” and the Canadians’ clothing turned into a running joke for the duration of the Games. I’d argue having Bimbo as a sponsor’s even funnier since a, it’s a funnier word to begin with, and b, Bimbo’s the shirt sponsor for the Mexico Primera Division’s three most popular clubs (America, Monterrey, and Chivas de Guadalajara). Consequently, it’s a word you see all over Mexico City; maybe Bimbo’s more clever than its name would lead us to believe.
But I digress. If you think Bimbo being a shirt sponsor’s weird then check this out: at halftime, rather than going to their respective dressing rooms, the two teams retreated to the inside of two giant inflatable loaves of bread that were rolled out onto the pitch. You couldn’t make it up; you wouldn’t have to. This, in turn, led to a halftime performance featuring a Mexican synth-pop trio who were joined on stage by Bimbo’s official mascot, a giant white bear who looks like a character from Avenue Q (Bimbo has one of the friendliest-looking corporate logos on earth). And here’s the best part: during the performance Club America’s dance troupe jogged onto the field carrying giant BIMBO banners. Bimbos promoting Bimbo; it’s gotta be a joke, right?
Roots, of course, wasn’t a joke, and it’s possible Bimbo isn’t either, even though the dancers gave me pause. And while yesterday’s match was borderline unwatchable, that won’t stop me from pricing Club America replica kits before leaving Mexico. I once got in trouble for wearing my Sleater-Kinney “SHOW ME YOUR RIFFS” shirt to work; it makes me wonder what would happen if I showed up with the word “BIMBO” written across my chest.