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.