EA to retain Madden NFL rights in renewed deal


(Reuters) – Electronic Arts Inc renewed its licensing agreement with the National Football League (NFL) on Thursday, which will continue to give the videogame publisher exclusive rights to publish the league’s simulation games, including hit franchise “Madden NFL”.

Under the multi-year agreement, EA will partner with NFL and the labor organization representing the NFL players to develop games in new genres, including arcade, and expand on platforms like mobile.

The company did not disclose financial details and exact length of the agreement, which was first signed in late 2004, giving EA the right to use NFL teams and players in its simulation football videogames.

With live matches halted due to the coronavirus outbreak, sports-starved fans have turned to simulation games and e-sports tournaments for entertainment, pushing sales of videogames higher in the past two months.

EA’s sports division currently has 200 million gamers across its portfolio, Cam Weber, executive vice president of EA Sports, told Reuters.

Webber added that Madden NFL has been a strong performer, even as other games started to decline from their peak levels in April.

Electronic Arts said the game has seen unique players growing by 30% year over year, with monthly average players reaching an all-time high.

Rival videogame publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc also announced here[min]= a partnership with NFL, earlier in March, for developing and publishing non-simulation football games starting in 2021.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel