After 30 years of collaboration, EA Sports has broken with FIFA and renamed the world-famous football franchise EA Sports FC.
When we think of FIFA, we think of one of two things: the governing body of international football or the football video game series. However, in the latter case, we are facing a change of seismic proportions as Electronic Arts is ending its partnership with FIFA.
The annual football games will now be known as EA Sports FC.
So don’t be alarmed: the franchise isn’t going away; it’s just changing its name. In a press release announcing the renaming, EA Sports executive vice president Cam Weber celebrated the brand’s 30-year history and spoke of a “new era” with which the developer aims to “take global football experiences to new heights.”
EA also assured fans that all of the franchise’s most iconic game modes, such as Ultimate Team, Career Mode, VOLTA and more, will remain in the new EA Sports FC, as will partnerships with the world’s most significant soccer leagues, including the Premier League, Bundesliga, MLS, LaLiga and more than 300 other licensing partners.
The possibility of a split between EA and FIFA has been speculated for some time, as the two organisations have been publicly at odds in negotiations over new business arrangements.
Previously, there were reports that Electronic Arts had trademarked the “EA Sports FC” title, with the possibilities including a new game mode, a free-to-play mode, or – as today’s announcement confirms – a franchise reboot. At the time, it was rumoured that FIFA’s governing body was asking for $1 billion every four years to get EA’s permission to put the FIFA name and logo on the box. FIFA is also reportedly looking into expanding directly into digital spaces such as esports and NFTs.
It will be interesting to see how much of the team and player likeness licenses EA will be able to retain without FIFA’s direct involvement, although it has been said that such matters are being negotiated as part of another deal and may even end up having to negotiate separately with the alleged 300 licensing partners.
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