Electronic Arts (EA), the leading video game publisher, is making a big push to acquire the rights to the English Premier League (EPL) after splitting with FIFA.
According to SkySports, EA has agreed to pay a fee of £488 million (over $588 million) to continue as the principal partner of the EPL. Furthermore, EA is set to retain the virtual rights to most of the league’s teams.
A meeting was held on Friday, where 20 Premier League clubs were informed that a new 6-year contract with EA Sports would soon be formalized. Evidently, the deal is worth over £80 million ($96 million) annually, which is more than twice the value of the original partnership.
EA and FIFA Breakup
This move comes after EA Sports lost its FIFA license, a relationship that lasted for almost 30 years. Licensing partnerships are critical for sports video games, as gamers look forward to playing with their favorite teams and players.
This is why the FIFA name has always remained at the top of video gaming sales charts. However, the impending loss of the FIFA license meant that EA Sports had to reacquire the rights to the English Premier League.
Moreover, the company is set to change the name of its next soccer game to EA Sports FC.
Undoubtedly, the English Premier League is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. The EPL has huge global appeal and a massive following. Essentially, it is the most-watched soccer league across the globe and features some of the best teams and players.
Furthermore, the EPL is also the highest-paying soccer league, which is why it attracts some of the best players in the world. The quality of the matches is very high, and fans can see some of the most recognizable players competing against each other. The league also has some of the most passionate fans in the world, making the atmosphere in the stadiums electric.
Related: The Fifa/EA Split Explained
EA and EPL: A Match Made in Heaven
Therefore, it’s understandable why EA wants to retain the virtual rights to such a recognizable league. The future success of EA Sports FC remains to be seen. However, with the English Premier League on board, the prospects are promising.
What Will FIFA Do Now?
The trouble between EA and FIFA began last October when FIFA hinted that it would end its exclusive licensing agreement with EA. FIFA then announced that it would adopt a new commercial positioning in gaming and eSports. Thereafter, reports emerged that FIFA was asking EA for $1 billion to extend its licensing agreement for another four years.
However, the process of creating state-of-the-art sports video games is highly complex and demanding. This explains only a limited number of developers globally possess the financial and technical capability to do so.
Unfortunately, FIFA has now lost the support of one of the major developers in this space. In addition, the remaining ones are fully occupied with their own gaming projects.
Establishing a new development studio would take years, even if FIFA were to provide funding. However, FIFA remains confident that a new competitor could emerge by 2024
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