EA Sports’ FIFA series of football video games remains one of gaming’s most lucrative franchises. The company’s licensing deals, that have allowed the games to use official club and player names, have fueled the FIFA series to become one of the best-selling sports video game franchises in the world. And while the franchise is set to lose the popular FIFA moniker for the first time after failing to come to an agreement for licensed use of the name with world football’s governing body, it is reportedly closing in on a mammoth deal to retain the rights to the Premier League, England’s top tier football league. According to a report, EA Sports has agreed to pay GBP 488 million ($588 million or roughly Rs. 4,861 crore) for the licensing rights of all 20 Premier League clubs.
A report by Sky Sports on Friday suggests that all 20 Premier League clubs were informed at a meeting about a new six-year deal with EA Sports worth about GBP 488 million. The deal, according to the report, is close to being finalised.
The report cited one club executive as saying that the new deal would generate over GBP 80 million (roughly Rs. 796 crore) for the league annually. The agreement would see EA Sports remain as the Premier League’s key partner and retain exclusive licensing rights for the popular league and its clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea, among others, which have a global fanbase. The new deal is reportedly worth more than double the existing agreement between Premier League and EA.
The Premier League remains football’s most popular and most watched club competition in the world by far, with its financial might attracting the best players, managers, and commercial partners. Much of its financial muscle comes from lucrative overseas and domestic broadcast rights, said to be worth over £10 billion.
Last year, EA announced that it was parting ways with world football’s governing body FIFA after a nearly three-decade-long partnership. FIFA had reportedly demanded $1 billion from EA every four years to continue using its name. After the two parties failed to agree on a new licensing deal, EA Sports also announced that its FIFA series would take on the EA Sports FC moniker starting 2023. FIFA 23, which released last year in September, will be the last EA Sports football game to carry the iconic FIFA moniker.
While its name may be changing, EA’s annual football video game series remains one of gaming’s most profitable franchises. As of 2021, the FIFA series of games have sold 325 million copies. FIFA 23 had a record-breaking launch in September, with over 10.3 million players logging in to play the game in its first week — the highest in the franchise’s history. FIFA 23 released September 30 on all major platforms, including PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. The next EA Sports football game is expected to launch later this year.