Sports

Fifa video game will change its name – 05/10/2022 – Market

Electronic Arts is ending a 30-year partnership with FIFA, announcing the end of one of the most popular gaming deals in history, after months of negotiations between the video game company and football’s governing body.

California-based EA will rename its “Fifa” franchise as “EA Sports FC” following the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Content will remain largely unchanged, with the same leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes.

“This new standalone platform will bring new opportunities to innovate, create and evolve,” said Cam Weber, executive vice president of EA Sports, in a statement. “We exist to create the future of football fans – virtual or real, digital or physical, it’s all about football.”

The breakup of the relationship is a sign of how one of the world’s top sporting governing bodies is looking to get more digital revenue to supplement the men’s World Cup revenue, while capitalizing on the popularity of the video game.

Despite the long and profitable collaboration, EA and Fifa, based in Zurich, were in dispute over the value of the Fifa brand. EA trademarked the name EA Sports FC last year, apparently setting itself up for discussions to fail.

More details on the future of EA Sports FC are expected in the coming months.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “I can assure you that the only authentic and real game that bears the FIFA name will be the best available to football players and fans. The FIFA name is the only original global title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, Fifa 25, Fifa 26 and so on – the constant is the Fifa name and it will remain forever and will remain the most sought after.”

Fifa earns around US$150 million (R$762 million) a year from the partnership, its biggest commercial deal outside the men’s World Cup.

The game is EA’s “largest and most popular”, according to the company’s annual report, with about 150 million players. Players pay up to US$70 for the new console and PC version each year, and free versions are also available for mobile.

The FIFA Ultimate Team mode, which allows players to compete online and spend money upgrading their football teams, generated a “substantial share” of the US$1.6 billion (R$8.13 billion) in net revenue in the year ending in March 31, 2021, according to EA’s annual report, accounting for about 29% of total net revenue. FIFA Ultimate Team players increased by 16% in 2021.

Some of the world’s biggest soccer tournament organizers have backed EA, bolstering the game developer, who relies on licensing deals to brand the top leagues, teams and superstars.

Richard Masters, chief executive of the English Premier League, the world’s richest national football division, called EA a “valuable and long-term partner”, while La Liga president Javier Tebas said the Spanish entity is “committed to partnering with EA Sports FC for years to come.”

UEFA Europe, which organizes the elite Champions League tournament, and CONMEBOL, organizer of the Copa Libertadores da América, also expressed their support.

EA’s sports portfolio also includes partnerships with Madden NFL for American Football; National Ice Hockey League; Formula 1 racing; and UFC for mixed martial arts competitions.

Lifestyle simulation game The Sims 4 and free mobile battle game Apex Legends are among EA’s other popular titles. In April last year, it acquired game publisher Glu Mobile for $2.4 billion, best known for its animated roleplaying game Kim Kardashian.

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