It’s game over for AFL deal with Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts did not renew its deal with the Arena Football League, leaving the league without a video gaming partner as it prepares for its 2009 season.

In addition, EA Sports passed on an option to buy into the AFL, which was part of a three-year deal that began in 2006, according to the company’s recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

EA Sports produced two AFL video games, but the company did not exercise the option to produce a game last season and let the deal lapse after the 2008 season.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The AFL is examining all of its options in this rapidly evolving category,” said AFL spokesman Chris McCloskey. 

EA Sports rolled out its first AFL game in 2006, just after the start of the league’s 20th anniversary season. Though sales were not disclosed, the game sold well enough for the company to produce another one for the 2007 season.

For the AFL, the deal was seen as a coup, given that EA Sports has deals with the NFL, NBA and other major sports properties.

EA Sports’ decision not to renew comes at a critical period for the league and its owners, who are expected to vote later this month on whether to approve an equity deal with Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity.

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