EA Sports and FIFA end video game partnership after three decades

EA Sports and FIFA end video game partnership after three decades

FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, and video-game maker EA (Electronic Arts) have reportedly ended their three-decade-long partnership.

Considered to be one of the most successful partnerships in sports, both parties ended ties after months of tense negotiations resulting in no agreement to extend the relationship, which not only created a popular video game but started a cultural phenomenon.

The existing deal, which was supposed to end after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, has been rejigged to run through next summer’s Women’s World Cup. After the tournament ends, over 150 million video game players of FIFA should get familiar with the new name: EA Sports FC.

But the game itself will not change substantially. Most of the famous stars and clubs of the world will still be playable owing to separate licensing agreements with their leagues and teams, even though FIFA-controlled events like the World Cup will no longer be included. Still, the game’s continuation does not affect the significant nature of the rebranding.

FIFA, over the years, became a source of livelihood for many casual players as well as Premier League pros. Even gamers with no connection to the sport itself became familiar with teams and their stars through their digital avatars.

Such a broad presence created a long-standing partnership between FIFA and EA Sports. The video game produced over USD 20 billion in sales over the past twenty years.

However, the split has been imminent for months. While the issue was partly due to varying financial expectations, FIFA was expecting double the USD 150 million it obtains yearly from its biggest commercial partner EA Sports. It quickly became clear that both parties had differing expectations of what should be added in a new contract, which acted as a catalyst to the split.

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