EA Faces Decision on FIFA Announcer

Posted January 26th, 2011 at 8:00 am

EA Sports is not commenting on whether Andy Gray will remain as commentator in FIFA 12 even as he has been fired from his position at Sky Sports for making sexist comments and related inappropriate actions. Gray has been involved with the FIFA series providing commentary going all the way back to FIFA 97.

Companies such as EA and 2K Sports have taken a more conservative approach to selecting representatives for their games the past few years. Despite that several incidents have still occurred and that has resulted in evaluations on whether to continue relationships. EA sticking with Tiger Woods and not backing away from Wayne Rooney are recent high profile examples.

The most comparable situation however is probably to Steve Phillips who was canned by ESPN due to a sex scandal the same year that he debuted for 2K Sports with MLB 2K9. Despite the negative press from that story and Phillips being without an actual MLB related job he was retained for 2K10 and will be part of the 2K11 commentary team as well.

For the most part the announcing team for sports games are non-factors in the marketing plan and as such can be insulated from some controversy. Given the long running relationship and the extensive audio library that has been built over the years EA may wait for the news to blow over and keep him in the game in similar fashion to how 2K handled Phillips. If they were to choose to go another direction however the development cycle is at an early enough stage that such a move could be made.