Thanks to an article by Doug Roberson of the AJC published today, we now know that Atlanta United plans to unveil their kits and kit sponsor later this year. Now the kits are a very big topic of discussion amongst fans and us here at Dirty South Soccer, but the sponsor on the kits seems to just be an interchangeable thing that nobody really cares all that much about. I, however, think this is of vital importance. We don't want to end up like the Philadelphia Union (Yes, I realize that Bimbo is a Mexican company that makes sweet treats and breads, but here in the United States, "bimbo" means something else entirely...) do we? There are plenty of companies with ties to Atlanta that would make great kit sponsors, and here are 10 (some realistic, some not) that we wouldn't mind seeing.
Sweetwater Brewing Company
Soccer and beer. Is there a better pairing? There won't be many companies on this list that are more Atlanta than Sweetwater. The brewery was established in Atlanta in 1997 and is now the 19th largest brewery in the United States in terms of sales volume. Personally, I would love a kit sponsorship to also roll into an exclusive tap contract at Mercedes Benz Stadium, seeing as they make way better beer than the big macro breweries (The King of Beers? More like the King Joffrey of Beers am I right?). I could definitely see myself rockin' an Atlanta United Sweetwater kit while holding a can of 420.
One of the few companies that would be more Atlanta than Sweetwater is Coca-Cola. The Atlanta based soft drink maker has already signed on as a founding partner of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so this would be a natural fit. A lot of the concept kits we've seen have been adorned with this classic logo, and they all looked pretty good. This, no doubt, would be a fan favorite and would make a lot of sense.
The Home Depot
Speaking of a shirt sponsor that would make a lot of sense, our beloved Uncle Arthur founded this company alongside Bernie Marcus and Pat Farrah in 1978 and it has become the largest home improvement retailer in the United States. One drawback to having Home Depot as the sponsor is the logo, which says "The Home Depot" inside of an orange box. This orange would definitely clash with the teams color scheme of red, gold, and black, but could be easily fixed by eliminating the orange box.
While this communications giant isn't headquartered in Atlanta, one of its largest subsidiaries is: AT&T Mobility. That company is the 2nd largest wireless company in the United States behind Verizon. AT&T is very active in the sports world, most notably being the stadium sponsor for that monstrosity of a stadium that the Dallas Cowboys play in. Their logo is very simple and wouldn't look too bad on the front of a kit.
Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)
Adult Swim has become one of the most Atlanta things out there. They are headquartered on Williams Street (which is also the name of their main production studio), and this would definitely be popular amongst the Millennials in the fanbase. Shows like Robot Chicken, Squidbillies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and more are staples on my DVR and are very popular in that key 18-35 demographic that Atlanta United is going hard after for season tickets.
Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
Now, this one is a long shot, but it's my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. The ribs, brisket, and wings are to die for, the Fox-A-Roni (mac & cheese mixed with brunswick stew) is life changing, and they are already the official BBQ of the Atlanta Falcons. Those of you that attended the logo unveiling will remember the Fox Bros finger foods that were passed around including wings and chicken salad sliders. I have a feeling that with their preexisting relationship with the Falcons, that we will see Fox Bros involved in some capacity, but I think their logo would look sweet on the front of the shirts.
Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world, so it makes total sense that the world's biggest airline is headquartered here. Delta is another company that has popped up a bunch on concept kits, and its simple logo wouldn't overpower the kits. Delta as the shirt sponsor would also bring a more international vibe to the team and their brand is probably the second most known world wide on this list behind Coca-Cola. A drawback here would be lame branding, such as: "Let's watch Atlanta United take flight" or some other dumb stuff like that.
Another long shot, but who of you out there haven't watched your favorite Atlanta team or favorite sport at one of Taco Mac's 25 locations in Georgia? Growing up, Taco Mac was usually our after church meal spot and the original location in Virginia Highlands is still one of my favorite spots to hit (although it can get a tad bit cramped). Taco Mac is also involved with Atlanta sports teams (while the Hawks are still in the playoffs, every time they win you get 6 free wings), and a partnership with Atlanta United would make sense. There used to be a Taco Mac in the Georgia Dome and there is one currently attached to the Philips Arena. A con with Taco Mac: they're logo is a buffalo with wings on it, which might not look great on a kit.
UPS is the world's largest package delivery company, and it just so happens to be headquartered in Atlanta. This one could come with some great branding integration (i.e. "That great delivery into the box was brought to you by UPS!) and if you took the brown out of their logo and just used the gold, it would fit very well on the front of Atlanta United kits. Unfortunately, I can already hear opposing supporter groups using their "What can Brown do for you?" slogan against AUFC.
This list comes to a close with the best fast food restaurant not named "In-N-Out" in the United States. Chick-Fil-A is right up there with most of these other brands as screaming Atlanta. Chick-Fil-A is another company that already works with area teams, including their ticket deal with the Hawks. When I was grad school at UGA for Sports Management, a group I was in actually proposed a pro soccer stadium in Atlanta (before Atlanta United was born) named Chick-Fil-A Park, but this would be cool too. Their logo is red and white, which would fit in perfectly on an Atlanta United kit. An issue for many with Chick-Fil-A is their conservatism and where that puts them on certain social issues. While on one hand, Atlanta United definitely doesn't want to alienate anyone (regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc), this hasn't stopped Chick-Fil-A from working with other sports teams and leagues both in the past and presently (examples are the aforementioned relationship with the Hawks, their sponsorship of various SEC schools, and the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl).