Last week, Electronic Arts reported the company was looking at potentially rebranding its popular FIFA brand of sports games as it reviews the naming rights agreement with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
According to a new report from the New York Times, this rebrand hinges specifically on FIFA asking for $1 billion every four years to license its properties. This new deal would also reportedly include limitations on ways that EA could monetize the game outside of its initial sale.
The NYT noted it had talked to “multiple people close to the negotiations” and discovered that after at least two years of renewal negotiations, there is a real chance that the branding could change following the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next November. This would end the current 10-year agreement and see EA lose access to the branding controlled by FIFA, which includes the name of the game franchise itself.
If this licensing deal does end up falling through, It won’t affect the developer’s ability to use player likenesses, player names, officially branded stadiums, team names, and other licenses, which EA has negotiated separate deals with companies like FIFPRO, the global representative for pro football players.
EA has worked with the FIFA brand since 1993, and annualized the FIFA franchise in 1997, releasing new titles as recently as Oct. 1 with FIFA 22. The games are big hitters, selling millions of copies and generating billions of dollars in revenue every year.
Konami rebranded its Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) franchise to eFootball earlier this year, and EA previously trademarked the name EA Sport FC in Europe just this month, according to VGC.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see this rebrand go through, especially since EA plans to release EA Sports College Football and EA Sports PGA Tour next year. This would unify most of its sports gaming brands and allow them to forgo using outside brands.