EA CEO spoke out against FIFA name in an internal November meeting

Daniel Sims

Posts: 586   +21
Staff
In brief: Late last year, it came to light that licensing negotiations between EA and the FIFA organization were breaking down, to the point where EA revealed it was thinking about dropping the FIFA name from its soccer series. Newly leaked internal comments from around that time have shed light on more details.

This week, VGC acquired comments from EA CEO Andrew Wilson during a November internal meeting. During the conference, he went over the disadvantages of continuing to pay FIFA for the right to use the name of the sport's governing body in its soccer franchise. The comments indicate FIFA has been restricting what the games can include in terms of functionality and licensing.

Wilson said FIFA hasn't let EA include modes in the games beyond 11v11, and it won't let EA license the Nike brand due to FIFA's agreement with Adidas. Last year it came out that FIFA also wanted to "wall off" the Ultimate Team feature, which is an effective money-maker for EA. The boss also said they benefit less from the FIFA name in non-World Cup years, amounting to just "four letters on the front of the box."

In October, EA started threatening to end its relationship with FIFA, pointing out the dozens of other leagues it has licensed to include in its games. It also registered a trademark in Europe for the possible name “EA Sports FC.”

This year’s game, FIFA 23, might be the last one with the “FIFA” branding. Its current deal with EA started in 2013 and ends after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Reports indicated the organization wanted to double the licensing fee to over $1 billion every four-year World Cup cycle.

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terzaerian

Posts: 1,487   +2,198
Get me whatever EA's execs are smoking because that is some powerful sh*t. Anyone can make a soccer game and FIFA would destroy EA if they left.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,335   +6,333
Get me whatever EA's execs are smoking because that is some powerful sh*t. Anyone can make a soccer game and FIFA would destroy EA if they left.

How exactly would FIFA do that? EA can deal directly with teams and even leagues to licence anything they like.
 

winjer

Posts: 458   +2,101
How exactly would FIFA do that? EA can deal directly with teams and even leagues to licence anything they like.

Exactly. To license the football players, EA already has the Fifpro license.
They probably also have the license from each major football league.
I think FIFA just owns the branding for the international championships. Like the world cup.
 

Edster

Posts: 123   +107
You be surprised, when I was much younger when Pro Evo was a major player, how many kids preferred FIFA because is the "official" game. So I would put some weight on how much EA's success with the series came from the rights to the name.

Of course, there is really not a major rival anymore so dropping the name won't really affect their market share too much. I suspect the next FIFA won't simply be "FIFA 23", but have some of their intended branding tagged along with it.
 
You be surprised, when I was much younger when Pro Evo was a major player, how many kids preferred FIFA because is the "official" game. So I would put some weight on how much EA's success with the series came from the rights to the name.

I can't speak to other people's logic, but I didn't play PES because it didn't have the official player names. It had nothing to do with it being FIFA branded or not. FIFA as a name other than it being culturally ingrained over time, is not the means to a successful football game. The licensing and game modes are, so as much as I dislike EA I do tend to agree with their CEO.
 

ThrakazogZ

Posts: 66   +95
To be clear....EA didn't care about restricted game modes, etc.......but when their "Ultimate Team" loot box/gambling money maker was threatened......NOW it's time to consider dropping the FIFA name.....
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,183   +1,082
If they drop it, I an see the new headline "Sony buys the rights to FIFA, exclusive to Playstation".