The contract between FIFA and EA is coming to an end, and renewal negotiations have stalled. It seems that both entities have projects of their own.
“FIFA”, distributed by Electronic Arts (EA), is the most popular football video game. The sales of the game, updated annually since the 1990s, amount to tens of billions of euros. However, its future could be turned upside down: the contract between EA and FIFA expires at the end of 2022. Negotiations over a renewal are on hold. This does not threaten the future of the game itself, but rather its name (and thus the marketing around it).
So what’s going on between EA and FIFA?
EA Sports FC
It all started with a statement by Electronic Arts published on October 7, 2021: “ For the future, we’re also exploring the idea of rebranding our EA SPORTS soccer games. This means that we are re-examining our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all of our other official partnerships and licenses in the world of football. »
The transaction between the two parties on the rights to the name already costs $150 million each year. However, it seems, according to information from The New York Times, which FIFA is now asking for much more – more than doubled. That’s roughly $1 billion per “slice” of the World Cup every four years. The partnership also limits EA’s room for maneuver – FIFA refuses, for example, to exploit the rights to esports tournaments, or use highlights from real games.
Ironically, EA Sports doesn’t need FIFA to fulfill its game, the publisher has other contracts, with the biggest leagues in the world (like the Champions League). In addition, at the beginning of October 2021, EA renewed its partnership with FIFPro, which means that the company has the right to integrate players into its games. ” FIFPRO will continue to be an important partner as we build the next generation of EA SPORTS football experiences for players around the world. ‘,” he wrote in the October 12 press release.
This means that EA Sports technically does not need FIFA to do almost the same game. In fact, EA recently introduced, again according to the New York Times, the “EA Sports FC” brand name. What if this was a new name for the game?
FIFA also has plans
It is not impossible that the deadlock in the negotiations also came from FIFA, according to one of them communication Posted on October 15, 2021, he also appears to have projects on his side.
In the document, FIFA claims to be interested in ” overlap “Between esports and football competitions, and in this respect,” FIFA is excited to use the FIFA World Cup™ (with an audience of four billion) and the FIFA Women’s World Cup (with an audience of 1.2 billion) as platforms to launch and integrate exciting new gaming and esports offerings. ».
The message is clear: if the partnership with EA ends, FIFA will attempt to develop its own games, with other publishers, for the Men’s and Women’s World Cup. This break (“likely” only for now, an agreement can still be found) could sign a remake of soccer video games.
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