On the 15th July 2000, Sega held the inaugural Dreamcast Beach Football Challenge at Richmond Athletics Ground in Essex, UK. I say 'inaugural,' but I'm pretty sure there wasn't a repeat event the following year, as by April 2001 Sega had already taken their ball and gone home. Regardless, this event is quite interesting as it was primarily hosted by Sega Europe as a marketing campaign designed to spread awareness of the Dreamcast in Europe and the UK and was helped no end by the international footballing glitterati that was invited to take part.
What I wouldn't give to own that tent in the background.
Most notable amongst the sporting royalty was none other than Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, who represented with a team of French ex-international players. Other teams taking part in the tournament included Manchester United Greats, Liverpool Legends and Arsenal Allstars. Naturally, the other teams comprised ex-players from the respective clubs, and by all accounts the event was a huge crowd pleaser. According to this article from 2000, Sega imported over 750 tonnes of sand for the games to be played on, and over 4,000 spectators crammed into the venue to watch the footballing magic unfold. Elsewhere, according to a small report in Dreamcast Magazine issue 12, there were multiple console pods dotted around and lots of freebies for the attendees. France walked away the victors (thumping Manchester United 5-3 in the final), but check out these photos of this lesser-known Dreamcast event:
We're pretty confident that this whole thing was a lot more credible than the Sega Spud Dive, but ultimately it did little to alter the Dreamcast's fortunes. Were you at the Dreamcast Beach Football Challenge on that July day in 2000? Did you grab any merchandise? If so, please share your memories of the event in the comments section!