EA and FIFA are set to end their long partnership. EA announced today that following the release of FIFA 23 later this year, the franchise will transition to a new name: EA SPORTS FC.
Since the first FIFA game launched in 1993, EA published games bearing the soccer governing body’s name for 30 years, creating one of the most dominant sports simulation franchises in history. The FIFA games generated more than $20 billion over the past several decades, according to the New York Times.
While the partnership between the publisher and FIFA was lucrative, it wasn’t enough for FIFA, who reportedly wanted significantly more money for lending its naming rights to the franchise, as well as the rights for the game to use the World Cup’s name, allowing players to play through the international tournament in various career modes and standalone games over the years. The drastic request from FIFA led EA to consider breaking the partnership last year. Now, it appears that negotiations between the two sides have broken down and EA will continue to publish its FIFA series under its new name.
While EA can no longer publish the game using FIFA’s name, it still retains its rights with many of the most popular leagues in the world, ensuring that players won’t be playing with knock-off team player names. This includes “exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, the MLS – and more to come,” according to EA. The company also claims that with the rebrand to EA SPORTS FC will come opportunities for the company to “meaningfully reinvest in the sport.” The company said it will share more details about its future plans soon.
Details about this “reinvestment” seem to include building around the women’s game in its titles since the company said it will “build on a foundation of inclusivity and innovate in new areas around both women’s and grassroots football for the global community.” Women’s players were first featured in the FIFA franchise only last year when they were introduced in FIFA 22‘s Pro Clubs mode.
For now, however, EA will still release FIFA 23 this fall, and the company says it remains “committed to ensuring the next FIFA is our best ever,” with the typical expansions of game modes and player database that comes with every installment of the game.
Update May 10 2:36pm CT: FIFA officially responded to EA’s release noting the end of their partnership, claiming that games bearing the FIFA name would “remain THE BEST.”