SBD/January 29, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

EA Claims To Have Years Left On Exclusive Deal With NFL, Working On New Games

EA's CEO said that the company is in planning on the next "Madden NFL" property
Electronic Arts yesterday in a quarterly earnings call said it has multiple new games in development with the NFL and still has "a number of years left" on its exclusive console licenses with the league and NFLPA. Industry speculation had suggested EA's pro football licenses expired at the end of '13 following extensions struck during the '11 NFL lockout. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said, "Contrary to some reports, we still have a number of years left on our agreements and we are currently in planning on our next 'Madden' property right now. The relationship continues to be extremely strong." EA reported $1.57B in revenue and $398M during the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $1.18B and $176M during the same period a year ago. But it missed earnings targets due to slower-than-expected sales on legacy gaming platforms (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

KEEPING IT REAL: In N.Y., Ken Belson examines the relationship between the NFL and EA's "Madden" franchise and writes the game is "inextricably entwined with the league." Developers for "Madden" are "sent the same game footage that the coaches on all 32 teams receive each week during the season" in order to aid in the game's "hyper-realism." NFL Dir of Consumer Products Tim Langley said, "Especially the last 10 years, EA has been among our best partners, not just in total dollars, but in the fans they bring in and the fans they retain." Belson notes the NFL also "has editorial oversight" of the game. Langley and other NFL officials "vet thousands of pages of recorded scripts and delete inappropriate dialogue, like the harshest trash talk." Also, illegal plays like chop blocks and helmet-to-helmet hits "are not permitted in the video game ... despite the other efforts at realism" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/29).
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