Video games companies have been tapping into the extensive football fan base around the world for many years. Here’s a trip down memory lane and a look at some of the shirt sponsorship deals of past seasons.
READ PART 1 | Commodore
As the popularity of console gaming rose in the late ’80s and early ’90s so declined the era of the home computer, and as English Premier League football club, Chelsea, saw the end of their sponsorship deal with Commodore Amiga in the early part of the decade their London rivals Arsenal would become one of four European clubs to agree a deal with SEGA.
1992 – 1996 | SEGA
Before we get to Arsenal though, we must look east to Japan and JEF United, a team from Ichihara who play their football in the country’s top flight, J. League Division 1.
JEF United of Japan were sponsored by SEGA for four years
JEF United enjoyed a four year deal with Japan games and console manufacturer SEGA starting in 1992. During this time JEF’s distinctive yellow and green shirts boasted the iconic SEGA logo alongside Sonic The Hedgehog.
1999 – 2002 | SEGA Dreamcast
SEGA went hard with the marketing of their new flagship console, The Dreamcast, which launched in late 1998 in Japan and the following year in North America, Europe and the rest of the world.
The Dreamcast name would be seen across the chests of four European clubs in Italy, France, England and Spain. Italian club Sampdoria, French side AS Saint-Étienne, English team Arsenal and the Spanish outfit Deportivo de La Coruna all wore shirts that promoted the newly launched console.
Left to right – Sampdoria (Home) | AS Saint-Étienne (Away) | Arsenal (Home) | Deportivo de La Coruna (Home)
Towards the end of the century Sampdoria’s away shirt carried the logo for SEGA’s free online gaming platform Dreamarena, however, Arsenal would only carry the Dreamcast name on their home shirts. Their distinctive yellow away shirts would exhibit the classic SEGA logo.
Arsenal unveil their sponsorship deal with SEGA Dreamcast
The expensive deal with Premier League side Arsenal is considered by many to be a key error of judgement that subsequently led to the decline in SEGA’s market share and eventual exit from the console market.