Trading card game Magic: The Gathering has made a surprise entrance into the world of football as the ‘official gaming sponsor’ of League Two club Leyton Orient.
The partnership between the nearly 30-year-old card game and the 140-year-old London football club will see Magic: The Gathering appear on the back of Leyton Orient’s training wear throughout the 2021/2022 season, as well as being named its Official Gaming Sponsor.
Somewhat surprisingly, the press release accompanying the news made no mention of Leyton Orient’s fully red home kit - which you’d assume would make for an easy mono colour crossover with MTG’s Red mana colour.
We're super excited to announce that we're now the official gaming partner of @leytonorientfc for the 2021/22 Season!— Magic Europe (@Wizards_MagicEU) September 1, 2021
We sent Ajani down to the Orient ground to check out this very different plane... pic.twitter.com/qareepBaSH
All the same, Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast appears to be having fun with the news, announcing the deal with an image of Gatewatch planeswalker Ajani Goldmane clad in an Orient shirt over the top of the club’s home ground of Brisbane Road.
Meanwhile, Leyton Orient’s head of commercial Josh Stephens offered the following as to the unexpected collaboration: “With strategy, logic and dedication being integral parts in both Magic and Leyton Orient game play, the partnership really is the perfect fit.”
As well as being one of the oldest professional football clubs in London, Leyton Orient is notable for loaning future England captain Harry Kane during the end of the 2010-2011 season. Kane later sponsored the club during the 2020-2021 season, raising money and awareness for Haven House Children's Hospice and Mind through shirt sales, as well as using the space to thank key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leyton Orient also previously partnered with YouTube collective the Sidemen in late 2020.
Magic: The Gathering and Leyton Orient’s partnership isn’t the first time that trading card games and football have crossed over in recent months. French forward and apparent TCG fan Antoine Griezmann was revealed as the official ambassador of the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game in early June. However, the collaboration was short-lived: Yu-Gi-Oh! publisher Konami stripped the recent Atlético Madrid loan of the title less than a month after the initial announcement, following allegations of racism.