EA’s FIFA 23 is the last entry in the renowned football video game series after EA and FIFA failed to reach an agreement to extend their long-running licensing deal. Now, EA is partnering with the most-watched sporting league in the world.
EA is finalizing a new deal worth £488 million with the English Premier League according to a report by Sky Sports. With this new deal, EA will retain its status as the Premier League's partner and official video game license holder. The report claims that representatives from 20 Premier League club teams were briefed in a meeting last Friday regarding the deal.
This new licensing agreement will reportedly be for six years and is worth £80 million annually for the league. The existing deal between the parties is worth around £40 million. The Premiere League will be a part of EA Sports FC once the deal is completed.
The new deal reflects the commercial viability of the EPL now that it's grown into the most profitable sporting league in the world, thanks to its lucrative television licensing agreements. The English Premier League also attracts the best talent in the football world, such as Norwegian footballer Erling Haaland.
More importantly, the English Premier League deal will replace the licensing deal between EA and FIFA, a deal that spanned three decades. FIFA reportedly asked for $1 billion for a new licensing deal per four-year World Cup cycle. EA CEO Andrew Wilson recently said that money was partly the reason why the studio chose not to renew the deal with FIFA. However, EA also wants to create the best football video game experience for fans of leagues around the world.
"Money plays a critical role in most negotiations, but the reason we are doing this is to create the very best experiences we can for both players and partners," Wilson said. "As part of that you consider whether or not your investment in one place is better or worse than an investment in another."
EA will lose the FIFA branding and the rights to the World Cup sporting event. However, the game developer has signed 19,000 athletes, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and over 30 leagues. Fans can still expect real athletes, teams, and venues for EA Sports FC.
The first-ever EA Sports FC will head to the PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X, on September 29.