EA and the NFL have extended their exclusive deal through May 2026, allowing for EA to develop simulation NFL football videogames. The contract was originally set to expire after the 2021 season, and new licensing agreements between the NFL and other game studios created speculation about whether the deal would be renewed. The Madden series is one of EA’s most popular sports titles, so there was little question about their interest in extending the exclusive agreement with the NFL.
NFL Owners To Vote On Renewal Of EA Sports ‘Madden Football’ As Exclusive Video Game Of League https://t.co/W5l5I5BeD5
— The Source Magazine (@TheSource) May 26, 2020
In 2005, EA nixed the NFL 2K series by acquiring these exclusive rights, effectively making Madden the only NFL simulation football game. Jefferies analyst Alex Giaimo commented on the necessity of EA securing this renewal, saying “The deal removes some risk from the stock, as many investors believed 2K would make a run at the NFL simulation license…” The Action Network estimates the deal to be worth $1 billion dollars for the league and $500 million for the players. Studios like 2K Games and Nifty Games were still able to secure new deals with the NFL back in March to produce non-simulation football games. NFL licensing is valuable on the sports game market and is a large part of EA’s successful catalog.
Madden 21 is expected to release in August for current-gen, and will also be ported to next-gen consoles. Last year’s installment broke records for EA and the series as a whole has sold more than 130 million copies since its genesis in 1988. A 30% increase in unique players has also been reported for Madden 20, with over 330 million hours logged since the game’s launch. Madden has a large fan base as one of the most successful game series in history, and the renewal is sure to be good news for them.