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May 2015 Retro Gaming Article


May 17, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari sponsored the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles

Atari Olympic Logo As the Atari Jaguar's stats were rolling in, it sadly became apparent that this console was not going to have a long retail life. Passionate about it's capabilities, I scrambled to every game retailer to scoop up as many games as possible before they were all shipped back or disposed of. In the mid 90's I wasn't aware of supply chains or retail distribution - I just wanted to arm my Jaguar with as many games as possible before it all went away.

This was a sad realization for me especially when looking at Atari's initial success in the Bushnell era. I sometimes forget how successful Atari was. They grew in leaps and bounds and were a highly respected company among giants in many other disciplines. The video game industry didn't really exist until other companies wanted to become part of the explosive growth in gaming.

When looking at what Atari is today, it seems hard to imagine they were once sponsors of the Olympic games! They negotiated several sponsorships for the 1984 Summer games held in Los Angeles.

Antic Magazine with feature about Atari's Olympic sponsorship Antic Magazine ran a feature story, IT'S OFFICIAL! Atari joins the U.S. Olympic Team in their VOL. 2, NO. 11 Feb 1984 issue. There is no contending the prominence of such a sponsorship, but Bushnell was always thinking ahead. In addition to sponsoring the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team, Atari also became the sole sponsor of home computers, arcade games, and home video games!

In addition to the associated prestige, this move gave Atari the fair use of the Olympic logo and language in their promotional materials. Thus Atari could link themselves to the prestige of the Olympic games within their advertisements. We all know the buzz around the Olympics as the hosting city becomes the epicenter of attention.

Atari donated equipment to be used on-site, as well as set up arcade games for use by the onslaught of media reps covering the Olympics. This would give Atari a lot of exposure both locally and more importantly - globally. Media from across the world would descend on Los Angeles for the Games. How could they resist playing Atari? :)

Antic Magazine

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