Negotiations between EA Sports and FIFA have been dragging on for more than two years. Bet of the conversations was one of the biggest deals in the history of virtual games.
FIFA demanded more than $1 billion for name rights over the next four years. By comparison, in the last contract EA paid “only” 150 million a year.
The two parties therefore failed to reach an agreement. EA Sports has now announced that the game will be known as “EA Sports FC” in the future.
“This new independent platform opens up new opportunities – to innovate, create and evolve,” it said in the official statement. “And much more than just a change of symbol.”
Other than the new name, players will not experience many negative consequences from the discontinued partnership.
EA acquires licenses for, for example, the Champions League, competitions and national teams through the concerned federations. And the portrait rights of players are held by the players’ union FIFPro.
“Our unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000 players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues that we have continued to invest in for decades will still be there,” EA says.
The severed connection with FIFA could even offer EA advantages.
“Because FIFA entails rights but also obligations,” said Stijn Jacobs, eSports expert for Insightful Consulting, about this earlier.
When EA Sports is free, they can also negotiate with partners other than FIFA.
“On a commercial level, EA Sports is tied to the partners of the World Football Association, which means that it has to repel many potential interested parties.”
For example, Adidas is part of the game thanks to their partnership with FIFA. “So they don’t have to pay anything. But when EA Sports is free, they can also negotiate with Nike. Or with Red Bull instead of Coca Cola.”
Jacobs also believed that the game is now well-known enough to stand on its own two feet. “They have less need for the name FIFA than a few years ago. Then the legitimacy of the game also came from the name. Don’t forget that Pro Evolution Soccer was even bigger than FIFA ten years ago, hey. Now they are not a competitor at all more, FIFA is ultra-dominant.”