At long last, EA Sports is bringing back its college football video games — with a catch.
Electronic Arts (EA) revealed that the company is reviving its college football franchise via Twitter. For fans of sports games, this was major news since EA’s NCAA series has been dormant since 2013.
— EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) February 2, 2021
However, EA also made a second announcement with this tweet: the company will no longer be working with the NCAA. Instead, the game publisher will be partnering with College Licensing Company (CLC).
Cory Moss, CEO of CLC, confirmed the new relationship in a press release from EA.
“We’re very excited to collaborate with EA Sports to bring back the college football franchise, one of the most popular collegiate licensed products in our history,” Moss said in the press release. “The college football video game connects passionate fans to college brands and introduces new fans to the storied traditions, excitement and game day experience that make college football unique.”
This might be due to the NCAA’s notorious long-standing rule that collegiate athletes cannot profit off of their own name. In 2016, a group of collegiate athletes sued EA and the NCAA for using their likenesses without their permission. EA and the NCAA settled the case for $60 million.
Through the CLC, EA will be able to reimplement collegiate football teams with their uniforms, stadiums and logos. However, the new series will not feature existing college players.
But the times are changing. The NCAA’s Board of Governors said in 2020 that it was in favor of college athletes profiting off their own likeness. If the NCAA makes this official, there’s a good shot that college players could be returning to EA Sports.
Fans of the NCAA Football series were understandably very excited.
(14-10)And(11-5)-x (@Officialj0nn) February 2, 2021
But not everyone was happy about the announcement. Some gamers cited the poor reviews for Madden 21 in their skepticism.
Someone remind me of the Madden 21 metacritic rating before getting excited.
— Frank Passalacqua (@randomfrankp) February 2, 2021
Please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden please don’t be madden
(@patrickadawson1) February 2, 2021
Don’t ruin this like you did madden!
— joseph (@BanFallWeddings) February 2, 2021
EA College Football is not only a return of a beloved franchise but also a win that the company needs. EA Sports enjoyed an exclusive contract with the NFL since Madden NFL 2005. Players have since criticized the Madden series by claiming EA has no interest in innovating features because of its exclusivity deal.
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