"Innovation" the word as Chivas USA unveil new jersey

LOS ANGELES – Innovation is vital to any successful brand, and at 30,000 feet somewhere between Guadalajara and Los Angeles, Chivas USA sought to take themselves to new heights. Quite literally so.

The Rojiblancos introduced their new home uniform on Wednesday in midair on a Volaris commercial flight en route back to LA from Guadalajara. Midfielder Jorge Villafaña, forward Juan Pablo Ángel and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy were on hand, modeling the uniform through the aisle of the plane during a 10-minute presentation for the some 170 passengers.

“We were having a lunch with Volaris and they were talking about an [in-flight] concert that they did with the band Los Tigres del Norte,” Chivas USA vice president of marketing and sponsorship Rodrigo Morales told MLSsoccer.com. “At that moment, something clicked and we knew what we had to do. It was three months of planning and permits, as well as other things related to the US and Mexico, and it was something seems to have worked well."

Morales understands that the idea to hold an in-flight jersey unveiling was certainly a new concept, but believes that the flight is symbolic of the team’s long-term plans.

“There are a lot of symbols on this flight; the first was that it was a flight from Guadalajara, where our sibling club was founded, to LA, which is our home,” said Morales. “Also, keeping Chivas at this altitude at this height is important because if we launch a jersey like this, then we need to have a fantastic season in 2012, and I’m sure that will happen.”

The experience was culmination of a wild 48 hours for the three Chivas USA players that made the trip. All three took part in an early morning workout at the Home Depot Center on Tuesday before boarding a flight to Mexico, then turning back Wednesday morning for the unveiling.

While the process may have cost the players a training session, Kennedy believes that it will only serve to benefit the club in other ways.

“It is an experience to fly all the way to Guadalajara," the goalkeeper told MLSsoccer.com. "We got dinner, then we do the promotion and then we’re flying home. A lot of work, but hopefully there is a great reward with it with Volaris. We want to promote them like they promote us. Hopefully, this is a creative marketing idea that is not only going to get Chivas USA’s name out there, but Volaris’ as well.

“In the middle of all that, we hope we gained a couple of new fans on the flight.”

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com