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Take Two seeking MLB exclusive deal - WSJ report

Counter-attack to EA's exclusivity binge could see baseball going to Take Two.

Publisher Take Two, whose plans for its sports game franchise have been hard hit by a string of exclusive license deals announced by rival Electronic Arts, may be in talks to sign a similar exclusive with Major League Baseball.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the company is in talks with Major League Baseball for exclusive rights to the brand, in a deal which would act as a counter-move to EA's exclusive signing with the NFL.

According to the report, the negotiations have been made possible by the huge sales of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, with the game's performance exceeding expectations and leaving Take Two with the cash to sign up some exclusives of its own in response to EA's deals.

So far, EA has announced exclusive licenses with the NFL and AFL football leagues, and yesterday the company revealed that it has also signed an exclusive 15 year deal with the ESPN sports broadcaster - whose brand is currently used by Take Two's range of sports titles.

A deal between MLB and Take Two wouldn't change EA's plans in the area, though, as EA doesn't use the MLB branding on its baseball title, MVP Baseball - but smaller rivals in the sector would certainly be squeezed out, such as Sony's MLB range, the latest iteration of which is due out in March.