EA and Madden have announced that their exclusivity deal with the NFL is to be extended until 2026, with a further years extension possible assuming all monetary targets are met.
This means that image rights, as well as naming rights, to teams within the NFL, are solely licensed to be used within EA’s Madden NFL franchise of games.
This comes as a huge blow to future creative freedom within the genre of American Football based games. With 2k Games recently, to the demand of the fans, reigniting their own efforts of an NFL series of games.
Whether 2k Games will continue working on an NFL title with a knockback as big as this is unknown.
EA Licensing Contract
“EA’s five-year extension from 2021 to 2026 is worth $1.5 billion, with the split being at least $1 billion to the NFL and $500 million to the players. On top of the fees EA is paying to the NFL and NFLPA, the agreements include a total of $500 million in “marketing commitments,”Reported by Darren Rovell at Action Network
The deal was voted on by clubs and owners within the NFL, who reportedly unanimously voted in favour of the EA Deal.
It appears the only way that EA may eventually lose the monopoly is if the fans were to boycott the franchise. Something suggested by Youtube based Games critic and influencer Jose Antonio Vargas (Angry Joe).
One thing is for certain, with EA’s Ultimate Team bringing in such massive amounts of money. It was always to be expected that this extension would happen.
With FIFA fans also hoping to see a license share between EA and the other football game franchises, Notably Konami. This certainly serves as a kick in the teeth by EA. Who’s really flexing its firm grip on licensing.
EA’s exclusive licensing deal with FIFA is set to expire in 2022. With the talks yet to take place, Konami has taken steps to seemingly take the deal away from EA, (Read Here).
But with this much financial backing by EA for the NFL deal. It would come as no surprise now if the FIFA License also gets the same financial backing.
The NFL has since sugar-coated the deal. Stating that EA is the best company to take the franchise forward. Offering the most realistic experience for avid fans that the NFL endorse.
It was important for us to really position the Madden franchise for future investment in innovation, gameplay features as we move to new consoles, more gaming devices, cloud-based gaming, and EA, really, given the history and knowledge and the level of talent gave us the best opportunity to do that, So we’re excited to continue to build the Madden franchise with them. It’s our core offering.
EA, for us, will be at the core, at the center of that realistic engagement for our most avid fans.– Rachel Hoagland, NFL Vice President of gaming, e-sports and partnerships. Read full statement at NFL.com
One thing is for certain. Whilst EA owns exclusive rights to sporting franchises. Other developers will severely be up against it in their endeavour to create a rival product.
Corporate Speaking for Everyone.
For EA and for the NFL as well, whenever we put the fan in the center of what it is we’re trying to do and we really lean into those fan insights and motivations to design the playing experience, that’s when we see the best results and the biggest success.Rachel Hoagland, NFL Vice President of gaming, e-sports and partnerships.
Personally, I regard this solely as a monetary decision. With the NFL only looking at this from a financial viewpoint. Not from a perspective of “what is right for the fanbase”.
I take no issue with corporations being about the money, It’s what fuels everything in today’s society. The part I take issue with is the lack of transparency.
What this is, is the corporate voice pretending that this action was done on behalf of the fans. Using fabricated “insights” to suggest that this is what the general fanbase wanted. Despite one glance online would suggest otherwise.
This is clearly not about the fans, who have actively voiced their anticipation for 2K games to bring out their own rival product. I don’t take issue at the NFL’s decision to renew this deal. They would most certainly earn less money by allowing more companies to use the NFL licensing. So they can’t be criticised for this decision.
My problem is, and this problem is with corporations in general, not just the NFL. They clearly ignore the fans and general opinion, Instead creating their own consensus as to what people want. essentially shoving this fake insight into the public eye in an attempt to disguise the majority opinion.
Whether your decision was made for the fans, or for the money. Don’t pretend it’s some of one and one of the other. Own your decisions for what they are. attempting to disguise corporate greed does nothing for anybody.
We’d love to hear from you!
What are your thoughts on this, do you feel these exclusivity deals strangle any competitors creative freedom to the point where it’s not worth doing. Or would you support a competitor coming in, even without any licensed teams?
Let us know!