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The big picture: A report from The New York Times has shed some more light on why Electronic Arts is considering changing the name of its FIFA soccer games. There may be a dispute going on between EA and FIFA over how much the name is worth and what EA should be able to do with it.
Last week EA celebrated the successful release of its latest FIFA game, FIFA 22. In the same post, the company said it was also considering dropping the "FIFA" name from the series, which it licenses from the global soccer governing body of the same name, with exclusive rights. Presumably it was because EA's games represent many more soccer leagues all over the world than just FIFA, which runs the World Cup.
The New York Times' sources, however, are saying that EA and FIFA disagree on how much EA should be paying for the license and how the game company should be allowed to monetize it. In 2013, the licensing agreement between the two was extended until 2022, and it seems that in negotiations to extend the deal, FIFA is seeking more money from EA.
According to sources, FIFA wants EA to pay more than double what it currently does for the name, increasing the price to over $1 billion for each four-year World Cup cycle. FIFA also wants to limit what EA can do with the license.
The FIFA games' Ultimate Team feature, for instance, in which customers spend real money to build in-game player rosters, is worth over a billion a year to EA. "It is also the kind of feature that FIFA would prefer to wall off, and perhaps sell in lucrative — and separate — deals," the NYT story reads. FIFA may be trying to explore more revenue streams for itself, while at the same time EA may want to expand the number of ways in which it uses the FIFA license in its games.
Earlier this week, EA filed a trademark in the United Kingdom and European Union Intellectual Property offices for an "EA Sports FC" -- the tentative title it might use if it drops the FIFA name. EA's advantage in this negotiation is that FIFA and the World Cup are far from the only soccer brands it has licensed for the FIFA games. It has deals with many other national and regional teams from all over the globe.