Ever wonder how and why the Sega sponsorship of Premier League football club Arsenal came into being? Well, a 2001 case study by a gentleman named Phillip Rosson, a professor of marketing and international business at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, offers a look into the deal and sports sponsorships in general. It’s quite interesting!
Summary (from the article):
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. This article describes the development of a shirt sponsorship in the Premier League. In 1999, the European subsidiary of the Japanese electronics company SEGA Enterprises, announced that it had entered into a shirt sponsorship arrangement with Arsenal F.C., one of the top English clubs. The circumstances that led to the partnership are detailed in the case study below.
The arrangement helped to relieve pressures felt by both parties. SEGA was about to launch its new video gaming console in European markets and needed to come up with a high-impact marketing program if its Dreamcast system was to seriously challenge Sony’s market leading PlayStation. SEGA’s executives believed that football could play a significant promotional role for the Dreamcast and wished to partner with leading clubs in important European markets. SEGA’s interest was timely for Arsenal F.C., which needed to find a new shirt sponsor following JVC’s decision to end its 18-year relationship with the club.
As well as describing specific organizational factors leading to the sponsorship decision, the case study identifies commercial developments in football of a more general kind. These have helped to create an environment where shirt and kit sponsorship deals produce important revenue streams for teams. The case study provides information on developments over the first 18 months of the relationship, including SEGA’s decision to get out of the video console business.
The paper ends with a general discussion of some of the themes arising out of the case study.
Although the lessons are examined in the context of football sponsorships, many apply more generally to sports marketing. The case study was prepared using materials drawn from documentary sources and interviews with key informants in football and sports marketing organizations, and football researchers.
PDF of the article here