FIFA publisher EA and FIFPRO, the global union for professional footballers, have extended their contract.
Exact details of the extension have not been shared, but it was revealed that it is a “long-term commitment.”
Thanks to the deal, EA will continue to be allowed to use player likenesses in their games going forward. Additionally, EA will also be able to continue the use of various leagues, such as the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
“Our players regularly remind us that one of the most important aspects of an EA Sports experience is the deep immersion created through authentic use of the world’s greatest leagues, teams and talent — it’s how we continue to uniquely blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds of football,” said EA Sports VP David Jackson.
The extension comes just days after EA suggested that it might drop the FIFA brand, thereby renaming one of the biggest games in the world.
“As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games,” said EA. “This means we’re reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.”
As we noted at the time, the cynical response is to assume that this is a simple contract negotiation tactic. Nonetheless, the fact that EA is willing to publicly debate distancing itself from FIFA is a significant move. Given that FIFA is a somewhat tarnished brand in many people’s eyes, following reports of bribes in reference to the Russian and Qatar World Cups, EA may simply have seen the opportunity to play hardball.