Last week, EA shared the surprise news it's currently "exploring the idea of renaming" its long-running FIFA football series - and we might now know why; a new report claims the football association wants EA to pay "more than double" its current deal to continue using its licence.
According to the New York Times, the current ten-year agreement between EA and FIFA comes to an end in 2022, and negotiations to extend that deal are due to conclude this year. However, "at least two years of talks" are said to have now stalled as the two parties struggle to agree on specifics, with FIFA wanting to increase the cost of its licence to "more than $1 billion for each four-year World Cup cycle" - perhaps eager to capitalise on the exponential growth of Ultimate Team, which made EA $1.62bn in its 2021 financial year, mostly through FIFA.
However, that's not the only sticking point; the New York Times' sources say the companies have also failed to agree on what the new deal should cover. EA is apparently keen to explore other avenues using the FIFA licence, such as video game tournaments and digital products like NFTs, while FIFA wants to limit the scope of the deal to pursue new opportunities itself.
While negotiations between FIFA and EA continue, the latter certainly appears to be laying the groundwork to forge ahead without FIFA's globally recognised licence. A trademark filing was recently spotted on the websites of the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office suggesting EA is readying to adopt the moniker "EA Sports FC" for its football games.
While EA's relationship with FIFA is looking increasingly wobbly, the publisher yesterday confirmed it would be renewing its contract with FIFPRO, enabling it to continue using "thousands of player names and likenesses" alongside various official leagues - a move EA said would help it "deliver the greatest, most authentic football [video game] experience".