The Beautiful Game

In the early days of the Dreamcast, Sega was riding high on a crest of positive publicity and the system was truly light years ahead of anything else in the console market. While Sega of America was kicking ass in the the US, the European arm of the company decided to take the crusade in a slightly different direction - to the packed stadia of the football world.

We have looked at Sega Europe's slightly misguided TV and print advertising campaign in the recent past, but one aspect of this assault on the subconscious of the 'casual' gamer was the decision to sponsor some of Europe's biggest football teams. And by 'football,' I obviously mean 'soccer.' Sega Europe sponsored four teams in total - Arsenal (England), Sampdoria (Italy), St Etienne (France) and Deportivo de la Coruña (Spain).

The Arsenal deal was particularly interesting, as the away kit was simply emblazoned with a large 'SEGA' logo as opposed to the Dreamcast one, meaning away fans only ever saw the familiar brand name - and not that of the console Sega were trying to promote. An odd decision, if ever there was one - surely showing the Dreamcast name around England would only have helped, as opposed to simply advertise the company behind it? As much as we - the Dreamcast fans - know who created the system, I'd wager that the vast majority of football fans in the late 90s/early 2000s either didn't know or didn't care; so why not just go with the Dreamcast logo on both strips?

"SEGA Europe's sponsorship of Arsenal, St Etienne, Sampdoria and Deportivo de la Coruña is a hugely successful and beneficial cross European campaign. Close association with some of Europe's best known teams and branding on leading European players positions the Dreamcast brand as highly inspirational. 

Reaching a massive audience on a daily or weekly basis through media exposure including TV and national press, the sponsorship campaign achieves huge Dreamcast brand awareness within the core target market."
- Dreamcast Premiere Press Kit 
Dreamcast-branded footballs?!
Regardless, I'm sure the advertising did little to prompt many match-goers to splash out on a system without a truly decent football (soccer) game - the vast majority of the DC's offerings are pretty lacklustre, even when compared to the FIFA titles of the era:

  • UEFA Striker - passable (no pun intended)
  • Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 - bad
  • Sega Worldwide Soccer: Euro Edition - bad
  • UEFA Dream Soccer - bad
  • European Super League - bad
  • Virtua Striker 2 - Not bad, but not really suitable for the home
  • 90 Minutes - laughably poor
  • Giant Killers - a basic management game
  • Let's Make A J-League Soccer Club - erm

In light of this shocking expose,  we'll just have to make do with these images of the Dreamcast and Sega logos getting their brief spot in the limelight. On this subject, the Dreamcast's stable of football (NFL) titles is truly stellar. Once I've got my head around the rules, I'll be bringing you my thoughts on those, too.
From the Dreamcast Premiere press kit
"Where's the second analogue stick, Thierry?"
Tony Adams 'enjoying' Sonic Adventure


Aaron said...

I still have that home Arsenal Jersey, and I'm not an Arsenal fan. I also used to have 90 Minutes. The input lag is horrendous.

BlueSwirl said...

Great post! I'll need to dig my Arsenal jersey out for next Saturday!

Emma's Daddy said...

Interesting stuff! I really like Sega Soccer Euro edition. I think it plays pretty well and looks rather nice. Not keen on UEFA though.

Ronaldo Chambers said...

I wonder where I can get a Dreamcast branded football