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EA Sports, FIFA End Nearly 30-Year Video Game Partnership After Contract Negotiations

Joseph Zucker

EA Sports is rebranding its popular world football video game and ending its long-running partnership with FIFA.

The company announced Tuesday that EA Sports FC will launch in July 2023.

Cam Weber, EA Sports' executive vice president, said in the press release:

"EA SPORTS FC will allow us to realize this future and much more…but not before we deliver our most expansive game ever with our current naming rights partner, FIFA, for one more year. We are committed to ensuring the next FIFA is our best ever, with more features, game modes, World Cup content, clubs, leagues, competitions, and players than any FIFA title before."

The New York Times' Tariq Panja reported negotiations between FIFA and EA Sports over maintaining the licensing agreement broke down.

Per Panja, FIFA wanted to collect "at least double" the $150 million annual payment it received from EA Sports. The report also referenced " different expectations of what should be included in a new agreement."

The relationship might have been more beneficial to FIFA than it was for EA Sports.

Peter Moore, who once served as the chief operating officer for Electronic Arts, told Wired's Cecilia D'Anastasio in November, "This is a time when you say goodbye to FIFA."

Perhaps EA Sports FC will cede some ground with a new name, but this situation isn't close to how EA Sports' annual golf game steadily took a nosedive when the series distanced itself from Tiger Woods.

Despite losing the official partnership with FIFA, EA Sports won't sacrifice much authenticity. Licensing deals with competitions such as the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and the Champions League won't be impacted by the rebrand.

The FIFA series has become a behemoth. As of last October, FIFA 22 had 9.1 million players. 

The game's primacy was further cemented when eFootball 2022, one of EA Sports' biggest competitors, flopped badly at launch. FIFA, the sporting organization, will have an uphill climb if it plans to help create a new video game series or piggyback on one already in existence.


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