In shock news, EA says it is ‘reviewing its naming rights agreement with FIFA’, implying the series could be renamed as something else.
Ever since EA started making football games, with 1993 Mega Drive game FIFA International Soccer, they’ve used the name of governing body the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Given how successful the series is it seems inconceivable that either they or FIFA would want to end their relationship, but EA has come out and said that it’s considering dropping the name entirely.
In a press release claiming FIFA 22 enjoyed a record-breaking launch, EA states that, ‘As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games. 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.’
That’s a very strange thing to suddenly start talking about in a press release that’s only meant to be bragging about the new game’s success at launch.
Most of the press release isn’t even about FIFA 22 specifically, and instead talks about the ‘300 individual licensed partners that give us access to 17,000+ athletes across 700+ teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues around the world’.
‘The breadth of our partnerships and our ecosystem of licensed content will enable us to continue to bring unrivalled authenticity in our EA Sports football games, now and for many years to come’, adds the statement.
Although it is just a name, most fans still think of the game before the actual organisation, when they hear the word FIFA. Just as EA’s American football games are still called Madden, even though the former football coach and sportscaster it’s named after is someone most younger fans are probably not even aware of.
What’s likely to be happening is that FIFA are asking for more money and EA are making a very public show of saying that they don’t need them for the games to be successful.
Or perhaps EA is trying to negotiate a smaller licensing fee for the name and wants to make it clear to FIFA that they’re prepared to go on without them.
It may also have something to do with rumours that EA are planning to make next year’s FIFA free-to-play, which would be an opportune moment to change the name – if that’s really what they want to do.
This still all feels like posturing though and whether the name changes or not may be down to who blinks first, out of EA and FIFA.
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