May 10, 2022 - Sports

FIFA and EA Sports end video game partnership after nearly 30 years

FIFA 22 logo with a controller in front of it
A FIFA 22 logo in front of a PlayStation controller. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Electronic Arts announced on Tuesday that it would end its partnership with FIFA after this year.

Why it matters: The game, one of the most popular and profitable in the world, won't be named after soccer's global organizing body for the first time since the series debuted nearly 30 years ago.

  • The deal will run through the Women's World Cup next summer, the New York Times reports.
  • This year's game will be named FIFA 23, but the next one released after that will be known as EA Sports FC. The game will no longer feature major FIFA-run events like the World Cup.

For its FIFA series, EA Sports has negotiated nearly 300 separate licensing agreements with leagues and international tournaments, all of which will still be active in the new game, the Times notes.

  • That includes deals with England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Germany's Bundesliga, UEFA and South American soccer body CONMEBOL.
  • During negotiations, FIFA doubled its licensing fee and demanded the ability to attach its name to other video games, according to the New York Times.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Stephen Totilo: EA's game is so popular it doesn't need the FIFA brand and the financial and reputational baggage that comes with the name. But now the race is on to see which competitor will grab the FIFA license for a game of their own.

What they're saying: "Global football has been part of EA Sports for nearly 30 years — and today, we're ensuring that it will be for decades to come," EA Sports executive vice president and general manager Cam Weber said in a statement.

  • "I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement on Tuesday.
  • "EA Sports is a long-term and valued partner of the Premier League, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the new era of EA Sports FC," Richard Masters, the Premier League's CEO, said.
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