Founded in 1988 as Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. Soccer Club, Vegalta joined the J-League in 1999 after playing a few years in the JFL, with the nickname Brummell Sendai, to which they had been promoted in 1995 from the Tohoku Regional League. When joining the J-League, the name Vegalta was chosen as a homage to the famous Tanabata festival in Sendai. The names of the two celestial stars of the Tanabata legend, Vega and Altair were combined to form Vegalta.
They were first promoted to the top flight in 2002, but went back down the following season. They were promoted again for the 2010 season.
In 2011, despite the earthquake and tsunami, they achieved their highest position up to that time, 4th place in the top division. In 2012, despite leading the table for most of the season, Sanfrecce Hiroshima's challenge proved too strong, and losing the penultimate week game to relegation battler Albirex Niigata cost them the title, rendering them second-place winners, their highest position in history.
Like most football clubs, Sendai's fans are to be heard singing and dancing throughout the match; but, most of the songs used by fans of other clubs are eschewed in favor of a more eclectic set. The club's theme, sung before every game, is Take Me Home, Country Roads, while during the game altered lyrics are sung to the tunes of The Lambrusco Kid by the Toy Dolls, Blitzkrieg Bop, and other songs by KISS and Twisted Sister.
Despite leading J2 in attendance for the past three years, the club has struggled financially since being relegated from J1. In 2005, the team ran a deficit of 163 million yen, the only year since joining the J. League that they failed to turn a profit. Up until the closing date of the 2006 season (January 31, 2007), the team was projecting a 150 million yen deficit. However, the transfer fee for Borges was enough to drive them into the black for the season. The total profit in 2006 was 27 million yen.