Saturday, 28 January 2023

EA Sports and FIFA End Two-Decade Video Game Partnership

EA Sports and FIFA End Two-Decade Video Game Partnership

Around three decades, one of the most successful business relationships in sports ended.

Months of stiff negotiations between FIFA and Electronic Arts, soccer's global governing body, ended without a deal to extend a partnership that had created not so much a most popular game as a cultural event.

The current agreement, which was to expire after this year's World Cup in Qatar, has been modified to run through to the Women's World Cup next year. Once that World Cup is over, the company said, 150 million video game players will have to get used to the EA Sports series' new name for a player.

The game will not change much. Most of the world's famous stars and clubs will still be playable because of different licensing deals with their respective teams and leagues, even though the World Cup and other FIFA-controlled events will no longer be in-game. Still, the game's flow does not modify the seismic nature of the rebranding.

FIFA was looking for at least double the $150 million it gets annually from EA Sports, its most significant commercial partner; it quickly became apparent there were different expectations of what should be included in a new agreement.

The more recent deal was signed ten years ago. Still, the intervening years had been marked by significant technological change and arguably even more tremendous upheaval at FIFA, which collapsed after a major corruption scam in 2015. FIFA's new leader tried and often failed to unlock new revenue way.

EA Sports and FIFA End Two Decade Video Game Partnership 1Twitter image: @FIFAcom

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When even talks between Infantino and Andrew Wilson, the EA chief executive, failed to retain a breakthrough, the sides agreed to a friendly separation, Wilson said.

Additionally to a doubling of its licensing fee, FIFA also demanded the ability to attach its brand to other digital products, including additional video games, As per people familiar with the negotiations.

FIFA is looking for new opportunities. But replicating Electronic Arts' game will not be easy.

Those deals allow Electronic Arts to use the names and likenesses of players, world-famous clubs, and prominent competition and leagues in its game. The company was quick to hold its connections on Tuesday; moments after announcing its change of way went live, some of the world's biggest teams and some of the smallest made clear they were parted way with EA Sports over FIFA.

The FIFA game's commercial success has primarily been built on Electronic Arts' ability to leverage soccer's seasonality; often, the company has made minor more exterior cosmetic changes to its offering.

A well-known player with a new team's jersey, for example, or a club promoted from a lower division while presenting it as a brand-new product annually.

EA Sports said to FIFA it would not be prepared to share a name that it made globally famous within the video game market.