American Football

NFL, EA agree to multiyear extension for 'Madden'

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ByReuters
29/05/2020 at 00:54 | Updated 29/05/2020 at 00:56

The preeminent video-game/pro-sports partnership will continue at least another six years, as the NFL, NFL Players Association and Electronic Arts on Thursday announced a renewal of their partnership for at least another half-decade.

The deal -- which the NFL and EA called "the biggest and widest-reaching
interactive entertainment agreement in NFL history" -- means EA Sports' Madden
NFL franchise will remain the exclusive football simulation game licensed by
the NFL.

According to The Action Network's Darren Rovell, the deal will bring the NFL
at least $1 billion and the league's players at least $500 million. MMQB's
Albert Breer reported the extension is through the 2025 season "and through
2026 if revenue markers are hit."

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According to Rovell, the Madden franchise has sold more than 130 million
copies since its initial release in 1989. EA's FIFA franchise is the only
other sports-themed video game franchise to sell more than 100 million copies,
per Rovell.

"It was important for us to really position the Madden franchise for future
investment in innovation, gameplay features as we move to new consoles, more
gaming devices, cloud-based gaming, and EA, really, given the history and
knowledge and the level of talent gave us the best opportunity to do that,"
Rachel Hoagland, NFL VP of gaming, esports and partnerships, told NFL.com
after the announcement. "So we're excited to continue to build the Madden
franchise with them. It's our core offering."

The deal comes on the heels of the Madden NFL 20 competitive season, which saw
Raidel "Joke" Brito win the Madden NFL 20 Bowl earlier this month.

"Madden NFL 20 was the most successful title in its franchise history," EA
Sports executive vice president Cam Weber told Forbes. "Our rapid growth this
year was industry-changing and was a key forcing function in driving the
biggest and widest-reaching deal in interactive entertainment for the NFL."

With the coronavirus putting sports on hold and forcing much of the world to
shelter at home at some point in 2020, projections for video-game sales in
2020 have gone up. EA Sports told Forbes that it has seen a 30 percent growth
year over year, an all-time high in monthly average players and more than 330
million hours of game time played since Madden NFL 20's release in August
2019.

In addition to the deal with EA, the NFL will have another video-game partner
this year. The league announced in March a deal with 2K Sports to produce
"non-simulation football game experiences," according to a release announcing
the agreement.

NFL 2K ran from 1999 to 2004, before Madden became the exclusive video game
partner with the league.

NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp told reporters that multiple
companies had a chance to compete for the next exclusive gaming contract with
the league, but that "EA made the most compelling case and beat out the
competition pretty soundly."

--Field Level Media

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