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FIFA’s $1 billion license agreement could push EA Sports to a potential rebrand

FIFA 22 logo displayed on a laptop screen and a gamepad are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto / Contributor

Many were shocked to hear that EA Sports was considering changing the name of its football franchise game, FIFA. However, reports from the New York Times have offered an insight into a dispute between EA, the developer, and FIFA, the worldwide football organization. With the belief that the difference of opinion is over cost and new revenue streams.

FIFA game sales have surpassed $20 billion over the past twenty years for Electronic Arts. FIFA’s licensing agreement has grown to become the body’s single most valuable commercial agreement. Now worth $150 million a year. However, it now appears FIFA wants to make more than double that amount by charging EA Sports $1 billion every four years to use the FIFA license as part of its game.

While money is the main issue here, the two parties disagree on what the gamer’s exclusive rights should include. FIFA wants to limit EA to make money off what is strictly in the game. In contrast, the game developer wants to explore monetizing, including actual game highlights, arena video game tournaments & digital products like NFTs.

The current 10-year agreement between the two organizations ends after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Cam Weber, the executive president, and general manager of EA Sports made it clear that a permanent break is possible.

“As we look ahead. We’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games.”

Cam Weber

Expect a final decision by the end of the year, but EA officials plan for a future after FIFA. The game developer is arguably in a position of power. Despite having to rebrand, it remains unlikely that any competitor would challenge their dominance of the market.

EA has complete control over the world of soccer gaming. Thanks to more than 300 licensing agreements with the likes of UEFA and domestic leagues and competitions worldwide. These deals allow EA to use the names and likeness of players, world-famous club teams, and prominent leagues in its game. EA’s license with FIFA only gives EA Sports the use of the organization’s name and logo and the rights to the World Cup. The game maker realizes that losing the name FIFA would not be an end to the game franchise.

EA registered trademarks in the European Union and Britain earlier this month for the phrase EA Sports F.C. A likely new name for the videogame franchise should they fail to come to a deal with FIFA.

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