The naming agreement between FIFA and EA Sports expires in December 2022. Meanwhile, Andrew Wilson, EA CEO, has confirmed that there will be no new contract.
We reported back in October that there was a name dispute between the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and game publishers EA Sports. More recently, Andrew Wilson, EA's CEO, gave an impressive interview with strong statements on February 23. His quotes made the disagreement between the world governing body and the still-manufacturer of the FIFA series for the gaming world worse.
The shock sits deep. At least with us. We have been playing the popular football simulation FIFA for three different decades. My personal first FIFA was FIFA 2002, and after exactly 20 years, it seems to be the end of fun: EA does not want to extend the contract with FIFA.
EA Boss Confirms: EA And FIFA Go Separate Ways
The contract poker between FIFA and EA did not work out. But who has lost out? FIFA or EA? Or both? Only time will tell. As of now, the facts look like this: The existing contract between the two parties has been running since 2013 and expires on December 31, 2022, and an extension seems almost completely out of the question. Wilson describes the current deal as an "impediment".
FIFA 23 Will Be The Last FIFA
Since the current paper is still valid until the end of 2022, we assume that EA will release the last game in this series with FIFA 23. To what extent there are clauses in the contract that say what happens to a published game outside of the valid contract, we don't know. It is also not excluded that there will be no FIFA 23 at all. EA seems to have had enough.
FIFA Wants 860 Million Euros Over Four Years
Contracts always fail because of money. In the period from 2013 to 2022, EA will transfer about 850 million euros to an account in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands. However, FIFA is now demanding more than double that! 860 million euros are to be due now in a period of only four years for the name "FIFA". EA Sports does not want to fulfill these demands. The EA boss says about it:
“As we’ve looked to the future we want to grow the franchise, and ironically the FIFA license has actually been an impediment to that.”
EA Secures Naming Rights For FIFA Successor
Wilson continues: “We’ve had a great relationship with FIFA over the past 30-odd years. We’ve created billions in value… it’s just huge. We’ve created one of the biggest entertainment properties on the planet.
And yet, a billion-dollar company like EA can afford to do without the name of its most successful game by far. Annually, the Canadians take in 1.5 billion euros with Ultimate Team alone. Every year. That's your money spent on bad FUT-packs btw. That the vultures of FIFA would like to have some of the cake, logical. But not with the EA board:
I would argue – and this may be a little biased – that the FIFA brand has more meaning as a video game than it does a governing body of soccer. We don’t take that for granted and we try not to be arrogant. We’ve worked really hard to try and make FIFA understand what we need for the future.
EA, meanwhile, has also secured various rights to new names for the FIFA series. FIFA 24 could be called "EA Sports FC 24". That makes me sick.
EA Abandons FIFA World Cup Mode
The popular World Cup mode (FIFA 14, FIFA 18) is also history in the future. Wilson confirms:
In a World Cup year, of course, we get access to the World Cup, but in the broader context of global football on an annualized basis, the WorldCup is important but it’s not the most important. We have 300 other licenses that give us the content that our players engage with the most and the most deeply.
So, FIFA is now the second soccer sim after PES to lose its name in a very short time. The game, most of the licenses, gameplay and Ultimate Team will of course remain. Basically, "only" the name will change. But what will we be playing then? I think that I will forever say "FIFA".
Who is the loser of the whole story now? For me, it's both parties. EA loses the name, the brand of its most successful video game. The recognition value is simply gone. And FIFA? They lose a lot of money. They're also missing the opportunity to once again shed some green light on the political outrages of the past few decades (cough, Qatar, cough). Why can't they both agree on a price in the famous middle? Money and arrogance rule the world....