EA’s Deal With NFL No Surprise But Questions Remain Including Exclusivity Status

Posted January 29th, 2014 at 3:30 pm


Somewhat lost in the news yesterday that Electronic Arts has several years ahead under current deals with the NFL was the lack of specifics relating to terms. Many reports that followed have made the assumption nothing changed through the process despite evidence to the contrary. Just two years ago it was made clear that EA would not re-up without new consideration to the market value of the license and their standing as the only company prepared to release a product up the the league’s standards every single year going forward –  a corner that the NFL backed itself into.

With that in mind it is notable that EA never uttered the word exclusive in response to the question posed in the investor conference call yesterday. In a follow-up exchange on Twitter, COO Peter Moore dismissed inquiries about the length of the current deal and whether it remains an exclusive one. Dodging questions only raises suspicion that something has changed. EA never had any trouble publicizing the earlier deal was for exclusivity and in fact they used it as a point of emphasis. Alterations to terms could be as simple as a lower price on a yearly basis while remaining exclusive but there would be nothing to hide about the framework of the deal remaining the same.

If there is another company or companies jumping in on the NFL license that news would not come until after the Super Bowl and it would probably be why EA was avoiding the subject all together and now won’t further clarify things. Still the chances of this being the case are slim. The NFL treasures exclusive deals and all signs point to them being extremely satisfied with the EA partnership as frustrating as that may be for consumers seeking competition or change.

  • Johnnie Harvey

    I went against all the reviews and bought Madden for the ps4. As someone who has defended Madden and EA for years I must say I wasted $60 on that game. I already sold it for $35 on ebay. I will count my loses and go no where near Madden next year.

    • Ryan Perry

      I’m not trying to say you’re wrong so don’t get defensive, but I’ve actually had a completely different experience with Madden on the PS4. I picked up Madden and NBA 2K at launch, and despite 2K being far and away the more visually pleasing game, I have found myself playing Madden almost exclusively while 2K sits. I think the improvements from the PS3 version (which I hated) to the PS4 version were subtle at first glance but as I dove further into the gameplay, it became increasingly evident the gameplay and overall feel was a fairly significant upgrade. I was discouraged by the way they ended the last gen consoles, and I’m encouraged by the way they’ve started this next gen.

      • Mike

        absolutely…I’ve actually been enjoying Madden on the xbox one and the ps4…and between the two I really don’t see any differences. i think the 360 version was barely changed from previous years game…but the xbox one and ps4 version plays completely different. much better in my opinion…and my buddy feels the same way.

      • vic

        i agree with you somewhat madden for the ps4 is much better than its predecessor and i enjoyed playing it for awhile and i too had 2k just sitting but that is because it was football season and football comes first lol but as i continued to play the game it became apparent that i was only enjoying the graphics and to be honest really are not that great but compared to the cg maddens it is, anyway the game became stale its the same thing again and again theirs no difference from game to game i have to make ridiculous alters to the sliders to make the game playable theres no depth in owner mode no draft class no real reason why anything happens in the game why the cowboys broncos dont resign there top receivers in dez bryant and thomas the schem setting is still broken it has no purpose because the scheme has no effect on how the player plays its based of ratings and unless your in the game and looking a the depth chart you cant tell your players ratings or the people in free agency ive seen players with a 75 rating ask for 9 mill a year just because my scheme says speed and i could go on……but 2k my gm mode is a huge step up it has its issues but past the game being broken right now so far its pretty good you got player personality’s, roles, chemistry all things that should be in madden dont get it twisted they have things to fix as well but the jump they made from cg to next gen was substantial so i have nothing bad to say yet

    • HeatFan786

      I got it for $40 and traded it in for like $35, so I didn’t take a huge loss. Keep in mind, if last gen taught us anything, the first Madden on the console is always the worst of the rehashes. Madden 16 will look and probably feel better than this Xbox 1/PS4 Madden 25.

  • Luke Randazzo

    You know…Microsoft could use another exclusive game…and they have a partnership with the NFL. I’m sure they have an extra studio that could make an NFL game…

  • Keith.

    Now you’re talkin’, Pasta! Glad you’re keeping up the discussion. What’s EA hiding? They sure weren’t afraid to brag about extending the exclusive FIFA licenses a few months ago. The decade long national nightmare is finally coming to an end.

    • malikstarks

      Where there’s smoke there’s fire. I believe 2k has something in the pipeline, this year or next.

      • bltzkrieg666

        Based upon what?

  • Iown You

    Yeah, I saw the Peter Moore dodging. That made me laugh. Typical weasel move. They’re clearly hiding something.

    When they had the exclusive in the bag before, they never hesitated to tell the media and then put it on the cover of Madden. Now all of a sudden they can’t talk about it? Ha!

    I don’t care if EA has another license; I just don’t want it to be exclusive. That’s all anybody should care about it. Exclusives suck ass.

  • Casor_Greener

    Pasta stop selling false hope to these boys. No other game is coming and EA and the NFL will announce a new partnership soon. I blame Goodell as he is the one ruining football, but really it’s just business. Plus, who could really make a better game. 2K is just propped up because of nostalgia, that game was no better than Madden

    • BJ

      No better than Madden? You must be on crack! 2K’s football game ESPN 2K5 trumps everything that Madden has put out SINCE! And that’s an old game on an old system! Why do you think EA ran out and got the exclusive NFL license in the first place? NFL 2K5 was the main reason! Nostalgia my ass! 2K scared the shit out of EA! EA knew that if they didn’t do something drastic Madden’s days would have been numbered just like NBA Live.

      • Casor_Greener

        2k baseball sucked ass. you never really know what a developer would have done

  • Nino Marley

    So your saying there’s a chance?? YESSSSS!

  • Hello I’m DEV

    i would say PLEASE 2k get some of that license but…they would and then we wouldn’t be able to play THAT game online either…#Bastards

  • bltzkrieg666

    Everything is a negotiation and it makes perfect sense for EA to want to renegotiate the terms of their deal with the NFL. Exclusivity is an NFL doing not an EA doing so the only question remains is who and how long. EA easily has the advantage for the simple reason that they ARE the only company prepared to release a product up to the standards of the NFL. The NFL profits from EA’s annual game as much as EA does. Madden is informally deemed the 33rd franchise and for good reason. I highly doubt the failure to mention the exclusivity has anything to do with EA obtaining license once again but more of restructuring the deal. I would surmise that EA is looking to lessen the price of such a deal for the sole reason of the mutual benefit derived from the annual release of Madden. Madden is a staple of the American lexicon having been around for a quarter of a century. Truly an impressive accomplishment.

    • Iown You

      “Exclusivity is an NFL doing not an EA doing”

      Pecover V. Electronic Arts proved it was EA that came to the NFL for the exclusive, not the other way around. The NFL had to agree sure, but who wouldn’t agree to what EA was offering?

      People just don’t want to listen to the truth no matter how many times they’re told and shown where to get it, smh.

      • bltzkrieg666

        Not sure what your point is I OWN NOTHING. Last time I checked, EA still has the exclusive and YOU are still whining about it. Let it go. Your not getting a 2k football game. Time to move on.

        • Iown You


          You make me laugh. You get about as much respect around here as a pimped hooker.

          EDIT: I apologize for bringing up your mom. Won’t happen again…

          • CSaint

            smh at that joke …

    • Skopin

      Even if they are restructuring, why wouldn’t they say that it is still exclusive, if that part isn’t changing? It’s odd to say the least.

      Also, I think the NFL profits more than EA does as there is no overhead for the NFL. They don’t have to spend time and money developing the game, so pretty much everything they get is pure profit.

      Also, I wouldn’t necessarily say that EA is the only company that can release a product up to the “standards” of the NFL. Any company that’s released an NFL game in the past can come back and do a simple port and it would meet their standards.

      In any case, I hope the deal is no longer exclusive. Exclusive licensing only hurts the consumer. Even if the deal isn’t exclusive, Madden will still exist. There will just be the opportunity for other companies to come into the field. The football gaming market needs competition. All gaming markets need competition.

      • bltzkrieg666

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that opportunity now exist in the college ranks? Lets cut to the chase here. This discussion is only a matter of interest to 2k fans who keep fantasizing about a return to football that will likely never come. If 2k really wanted to make a football game they could have gone the All Pro route again. They could have even tapped the Canadian Football League. The honest truth is that none of that will sell. Also if the exclusivity were lifted do you really think 2k could put out a quality product in 1 year. Cant be done. Games today are far more complicated and take longer to develop. Even if 2k were to develop, they are so far behind what EA is doing that the game would likely tank in sales thus making it not viable. Take Two is a publicly traded company and I seriously doubt 2k would take that kind of risk. Maybe they can develop stuff behind the scenes and try to wait it out but then again, that takes money, time, and personnel. You don’t see EA jumping back into the baseball scene do you. I think its time you all take your fanboy glasses off and look at this logistically.

        • Skopin

          I doubt anyone will jump into college football (or any sport) for a while after all the ridiculousness with the player likenesses.

          Yes, they could go the All-Pro route but the bottom line is that people want real teams and real (current) players. I truly believe that if APF 2k8 would have been more fleshed out it would have sold better. But it’s still unlicensed and that alone most likely cuts it sales by at least 50%.

          I never said 2k or any other developer would be back in year one with an NFL title. But if the license opens up you can bet your ass at least one developer other than EA will start working on something.

          Talking about EA getting back into baseball really doesn’t help your argument, at least not against me. For all we know, they are working to bring back a baseball game, just not in year one.

          But even if they’re not, it’s not the same. Baseball is a much smaller market than football. The Show has only sold roughly 8 million copies across all platforms (PS3, PS Vita, PS2, and PSP) from MLB 07 – MLB 13. Even if we add in the sales from MLB 2k (3.45 across Sony platforms, 9.33 across all platforms), they are only about 17 million. Madden has sold 31.82 million in that same period across Sony platforms alone. Madden is making almost quadruple what The Show brings in, not counting non-Sony platforms. So it is considerably more feasible for a company to get into the football market, where the market is massive and consumers are begging for competition, as opposed to the baseball market, where an already small profit margin would be split..

        • mike

          to address the first part, WHOS GONNA BUY A CFL GAME AFL GAME OR AN NFL GAME WITH FAKE TEAMS AND FAKE PLAYERS? LOOK AT PES YOU WANNA KNOW WHY PES IS NOT ON THE SAME LEVEL AS FIFA? BECAUSE FIFA HAS ACTUAL PLAYERS TEAMS AND STADIUMS! (still dont know why ghana is not in fifa though) fact is people wanna play with actual players on actual teams in their actual stadiums. thats why APF didnt work no one wanted to play with the hall of famers even though i actually enjoyed it. no one will want to play with canadian football players as well.

  • shawn

    if u look at hiphopgamer he is saying he knows things and 2k is coming back… check him out

    • Skopin

      HipHopGamer is just a hype man who uses rumors to get views. He doesn’t have any inside information.

  • MoneyMayweather

    not letting another company or companies make a football game is an extreme disservice to the paying customer or customers who are fans of NFL football believe me it will not go well with NFL Board of directors if news leaks out this deal is exclusive. it will also bury the NFL brand video game wise as being nothing more than a cash cow. if NFL wants to walk that path and end video game football as we know so be it

  • Dustan M. Howell

    I keep hearing the assertion that the NFL loves exclusive deals. In reality, the NFL loves the deals that give them the most money, and that’s the perk that exclusive deals provide. Whether it’s Sunday Ticket, Jerseys, or video games, companies are usually willing to pay a king’s ransom to be only company ( in their respective market) selling NFL products. The NFL doesn’t like exclusives just because. They like exclusivity because it simply brings them more money.Here’s the catch: you have to have several competing companies that actually want the license; with video games, that hasn’t been the case for a while. Also, the fact that we still don’t know whether the deal is exclusive or not is telling. That info was always available before.

    • This is true of course. But it’s also about the level of control they can exert over a single licensee.

      • Dustan M. Howell

        Why does having just one licensee give the NFL more control ? Why can’t the NFL exert the same control over multiple licensees ? 2k and EA have dual exclusive licenses with the NBA. They’re the only two publishers that can make bball games with real-life assets of the NBA. Who knows ? Maybe that is something that will end up happening, or maybe it’s already happened. EA probably inked deal before Madden 25 was released so they could starting developing Madden 15 with a licensing deal in place. We just don’t know whether it’s exclusive or not. 2k, if they’re releasing a game, whenever they release it, would probably have a licensing deal in place already that’s set to start after the Super Bowl.

      • danny

        This is said all the time as if one extra game would be so difficult for the NFL to control. Come on this is the Shield we are talking about. If the money is right I think they can hire an extra person or two to over see and make sure everything is kosher and up to there guidelines. This is just a poor excuse as is proven by the fact that the NBA and MLB has no problem controlling multiple licenses!

  • adfletch71

    No body really cares about EA making another football, its the exclusiveness of the contract is the question. We want competition and that’s what its all about.

  • PBE

    i was looking online for the terms of the agreement… there isnt one, in the last post Pasta stated that it has been extended. I hope there is competition for madden it will only make it better… i dont care if its 2k, sony, EA we need more choices… Hopefully this Madden era has come to an end (hence why they named the last madden 25 instead of madden 14, maybe they know the end is near?)

  • dhall

    Now, back in the day, I was the one that broke to news of Madden being RTP. Because of a good inside source that I have, I have more information regarding the future of EA, Madden and the NFL. Are you ready? EA will continue to make Madden up until 2019, without restrictions as a new dew deal has been placed. They will be required to sell the game at the $49 price point only. As a matter of fact, MIcrosoft AND Sony will also be required to sell their new NFL products at the new price point of $49. That’s right! The exclusivity of the NFL license will be officially over on February 3rd! Just wait and see…This is what I was told from my source who works for EA. Madden ’15 will also not be out until 2015 to include the new Pro Bowl Draft and set-up. An exclusive NFL simulation game for Microsoft XBOX One and a seperate NFL simulation for PS4 are both scheduled for 2016 season. No word on 2K.

    • Samutuck

      I hope you are serious with this because this is huge.

    • malikstarks

      Thanks for the tip, hope it proves accurate.

  • MC Cane

    OK, after almost a decade of exclusivity with EA, with the fact that it’s clear profit, why would you want to drop it? It’s just a hunch, but this sudden change of heart may have something to do with EA’s resent lawsuits. Funny things happen in court cases (win or loose) when evidence is presented, it can make their affiliates (business partners) uncomfortable. Roger the dodger is no fool, his job is to protect the shield, if it means bending the rules to stay out of the mud pits, so be it. I’m just wondering….why give up a sweet exclusive deal like that?

    • malikstarks

      It may not be as profitable as many believe it is. My guess is that its a huge up front expense that takes them a few years to earn back before turning a profit. Money that could be better used to shore up some other holes in EA’s leaky financial ship. They probably believe that the Madden name carries enough cache that they do not need to worry about competition, at least for now. Even a great 2k game might take a bit of time to build up brand recognition and trust.

  • CDR

    The Madden series has gotten tired. The last few games have been the same with the addition of few minor changes. It’s no longer the game it used to be. I wish it could take a page from 2K’s book, every year the game is a smash and ppl love playing it.


  • bspang2

    I HATE EA!!!!!

  • James

    I realize it wouldn’t be the best move from a business perspective but if i were 2K, I would have a team developing a football game as if they were going to release it each year and remain on top of it, just waiting to pounce and plug in the official NFL players and teams the second they could. I would also “leak” this so the NFL wouldn’t feel the pressure to sign with EA just because they didn’t want to risk going a year or two without a game.

  • Tazdevil20

    While we all can agree that the NFL loves exclusives, and that EA definitely shit their pants when 2k’s football was far superior (hence the court documents), you can’t really compare video game exclusives with any of the other products. It’s completely different. The NFL makes more money with the other exclusives, because by granting exclusivity to one company, it does not completely eliminate the competing companies from that market. TWC, Comcast, etc. can still provide TV service, Reebok can still provide athletic wear, Coors can still make beer, etc. etc. Because of this fact, the NFL can charge a king’s ransom for any of these companies to be their exclusive product because there is always incentive for these companies to do so. What the NFL has done with video games is completely screwed themselves with the typical short term thinking of greedy corporate slobs. In the short term they were able to rape EA for over a billion dollars in order to ensure we would have the shittiest football game ever made for a decade and EA could cash in. Instead, now that time has past, the NFL essentially destroyed the market for football games, and now has destroyed any reason for EA to pay a premium for an NFL license. THis was a complete blunder. The NFL may have profited in the short term, but they created a legion of public haters, critics and commentators, along with eliminating any sort of competition between obtaining a license for a premium price. This is exactly the reason why the other sports have steered away from exclusive licenses with video games. Because it will be far more profitable, and better for the brand to maintain multiple licenses. It drives the price up and keeps a competitive market open. Both the EA and the NFL are morons. This did nothing for EA except make the majority of sports gamers hate them even more (and deservedly so), embarrass themselves beyond repair with a horrendous product, and it also cost them a shit ton of money (along with numerous lawsuits and other issues). While I would LOVE for there to be multiple games again, it probably won’t happen, but whatever negativity stems from this move on EA, they deserve every bit of it. Every critique of the shitty developers they have and the lack of respect for their customers is 100% deserved and self induced.

  • Ian Dickson

    Good Evening Electronic Arts Producers and Directors that worked so hard to make Madden 25 video game producer Richard Hilleman, gameplay creative director Rex Dickson, Producer Seann Graddy, Art Director Jean Adams, Creative Directors Ian Cummings, and Mike Young, Animation Director Jason Danahy, Since the NFL Combine is gonna be occurring on this upcoming Saturday February 22, 2014 and the 2014 NFL Draft will be on Thursday May 8, 2014 I have a few suggestions on some adjustments ya’ll should make for the Madden NFL 15 Wishlist for the PS4. First, I think that in the next madden ya’ll should put all 25 features together specifically from Madden NFL 2004 The Playmaker Control ya’ll should make adjustments just what the significance of the feature meant. Playmaker Control allows players to change offensive plays without the use of an audible. (Similar to what Peyton Manning does when he is calling audibles post-snap at the LOS) I’m referring to Playmaker Run and Playmaker Pass without having to call audibles because people that loves playing madden does not like pressing the square the R1, L1, R2, or L2 to call an audible or get out of the audible depending on the game console that he or she is playing. Second, The Playcalling needs to change because even though I have not played Madden NFL 25 yet the playcalling that I witnessed online is still a problem for me. I want it to be realistic such as Pro 44 Blast, I 34 Dive, Pro Right 42 dive 25 fake, Pro Right 24 fake Z-motion, Spread Eagle left 45 Fake Bootleg, Jab 547 Power F Right, 73 Ghost, Routes on an All Go Buffalo, Colt, Exxon, Zorro, Red, and Return, etc. point being the plays have to be or should be the same as what we see when we are actually watching an NFL Football game on Sundays, Thursdays, or Mondays. ( Monday Night Football with Mike Tirico and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, Sunday Football on CBS with either Jim Nantz and Former NY Giants QB Phil Simms, Solomon Wilcotts, Rich Gannon, or another commentator with Marv Albert, and Thursday Night Football with Mike Mayock and Brad Nessler on NFL Network) Like on NBA 2k14 for the PS4 ya’ll should make adjustments on the 1st to 4th quarter interviews including the Halftime interview. Ya’ll can include the QB Vision Cone from Madden NFL 06 that allow you to manually moving the QB’s eyes Left or Right West to East another words surveying the field to find an open receiver. If the ball is thrown to the outside of the cone the pass would be off-target; Weapon Icons from Madden NFL 08 that helps to identify the best players on offense and defense and it includes 24 categories. Dynamic Player Performance from Madden NFL 12 adjusted player ratings based on what happens over the course of a season, Infinity Engine from Madden NFL 13, bring back Mini Camp, and Owner Mode also from Madden NFL 04.