Sport and Corporate Nationalisms

By Michael L. Silk; David L. Andrews et al. | Go to book overview

9
SEGA Dreamcast: National
Football Cultures and the New
Europeanism

Philip Rosson

Commercial sponsorships have become an important element in most sports. This is certainly true in English football where, since the early 1980s, shirt and kit sponsorships have generated important revenues for clubs at all levels. Companies increasingly view sponsorships as an effective way to promote their corporate and/or product brands. This chapter presents a case study of SEGA Europe's use of a football shirt sponsorship in the launch of its new video gaming console and brand (the Dreamcast) in the UK market. The sponsorship sought to capitalize on the popularity of football among the prime market segment for its product and to benefit from television and other media exposure. The case study outlines the circumstances that led SEGA Europe and Arsenal FC to partner with each other, as well as subsequent developments. It was prepared using secondary sources and interviews with key informants in football organizations, sports marketing firms, and football researchers.1


Introduction

SEGA Enterprises, a Tokyo-based video game company, launched its new Dreamcast console in the Japanese market on November 27, 1998. North American and European introductions were planned for September 1999. SEGA expected that the Dreamcast console would challenge Sony's PlayStation for market leadership. Management at SEGA's European subsidiary was considering football shirt sponsorships as one element in its launch and market development plans. Why football? Because it was the number one sport in Europe and its fans' demographics increasingly mirrored those for video gamers. In addition, television was broadcasting more and more football games – often on a panEuropean basis – providing valuable exposure for companies and their brands. Therefore, football seemed ideally suited to communicating with those most

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