Electronic Arts has said it might end its partnership with FIFA for its future football games. EA Sports GM Cam Weber said in a blog post that EA is “exploring” the possibility of renaming its FIFA series as part of its rights agreement negotiations with FIFA.
Weber said EA is “exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games. This means we’re reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.”
EA’s deal with FIFA to use the FIFA name is good through 2022, so EA and FIFA have about a year to get the deal done–or not. Weber explained in the blog post that EA has separate licensing deals with over 300 different groups beyond FIFA that give the company access to more than 17,000 athletes on 700+ teams in 100 stadiums and covering 30 leagues around the world.
“We continually invest in the partnerships and licenses that are most meaningful to players, and because of that, our game is the only place you can authentically play in the iconic UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, CONMEBOL Libertadores, Premier League, Bundesliga, and LaLiga Santander, among many others,” Weber said. “The breadth of our partnerships and our ecosystem of licensed content will enable us to continue to bring unrivaled authenticity in our EA Sports football games, now and for many years to come.”
In essence, Weber is saying EA does not strictly need to work with FIFA on future games because it has rights agreements in other places.
“The future of football is very big and very bright. Our priority is to ensure we have every opportunity to continue delivering the world’s greatest interactive football experiences. Thank you again for your support and feedback on this year’s game. We look forward to creating the future of football with you,” Weber said.
This situation sounds similar, in some ways, to what’s happening with EA’s college football series. The franchise is returning, but it won’t have the NCAA name. Instead, EA worked out a deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company to get the rights to player names, stadiums, and other real-world elements.
Going back to FIFA, Weber said FIFA 22 is off to a very good start. It reached 9.1 million players since launch, with 7.6 million Ultimate Team squads created. In total, people have played 460 million matches.
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