Electronic Arts and FIFA are in a bit of a cost dispute, according to a New York Times report stating contract renewal talks have stalled.
With EA’s current 10-year contract with FIFA set to expire after the 2022 World Cup, it seems the stalled negotiations over EA’s ability to use FIFA and FIFA World Cup branding boils mainly down to money.
According to the report, FIFA wants more than double from what EA currently pays. Double would mean EA would have to pay the organization $1 billion for every World Cup cycle which takes place every four years. Currently, organization earns $150 million from EA for the FIFA license.
Other than money, the report also stats another sticking point has to do with what players’ exclusive rights should include. FIFA wants to limit EA’s exclusivity so that it can seek new revenue streams for retainable rights. But EA wants to expand by including actual game highlights, arena video game tournaments, and digital products such as NFTs, according to The New York Times.
Should the two companies not come to an agreement, the franchise would no longer feature FIFA branding or anything FIFA-related. Failing to ink a new contract wouldn’t affect other licenses, such as player names and likenesses, because EA and FIFRO recently inked a new deal.
It would, however, force EA to change the game of the almost 30-year-old franchise, possibly to EA Sports FC which was recently trademarked by the company. The possibility of a new name for the franchise was alluded to by EA Sports GM Cam Weber last week.
The loss of FIFA branding may or may not hinder sales of future football/soccer projects for EA, but many seem to feel the FIFA organization may take a hit due to the lack of exposure outside the realm of sports, not to mention it would forgo the $150 million a year it makes off EA alone.
The FIFA series has sold over 325 million copies as of 2021 and has raked in over $20 billion since 1993. The most recent iteration, FIFA 22, was released on October 1 and as of last week, had 9.1 million players with over 7.6 million Ultimate Team squads created and over 460 million matches played.