Sega Europe and Sports Interactive have today announced a partnership that grants Sega the worldwide rights to publish all output from Sports Interactive for the next five years. Eastside Hockey Manager will be the first title to be released under the agreement this summer, followed by the previously unannounced Football Manager 2005 toward the end of this year.
"Sega Europe's relationship with SI is a significant partnership for both companies," said Naoya Tsurumi, president and COO of Sega Europe. "Sega is looking forward to growing its base of market-specific products outside Japan, and signing one of the most important developers in the UK underlines our strong commitment to this."
Following the end of Sports Interactive's relationship with Eidos, the developer lost its Championship Manager name but retained ownership of its soccer player database and source code. Football Manager 2005 promises to improve upon Championship Manager: Season 03/04 with, among other things, new tactics and new pre- and postmatch analysis features. Today's announcement suggests that Football Manager 2005 might go head-to-head with Eidos' recently announced Championship Manager 5 when it arrives in stores.
"We are absolutely delighted to have signed a long-term deal with one of the biggest players in the global games business," said Miles Jacobson, managing director at Sports Interactive. "We're justifiably proud of what we've achieved with our previous games and business relationships, but we believe that this new agreement will take us to even higher levels. With both Football Manager 2005 and Eastside Hockey Manager due for release within a matter of months, we're confident that 2004 will be just the first of many successful years for Sports Interactive and Sega."
"We are delighted to extend our relationship with Sports Interactive," added Matthew Woodley, European marketing director at Sega Europe. "We're really excited to be working with them with one of the most important PC games ever and doubly excited to be able to help them achieve their goal of worldwide distribution. Football Manager 2005 is going to be a huge hit this year and something we're going to have a lot of fun working with."
We'll bring you more information on Football Manager 2005 as soon as it becomes available.