Say goodbye to competition.
Electronics Arts announced today that it has negotiated an exclusive five-year contract with the NFL and the NFL Players Association for "action simulation, arcade-style and manager games" on all platforms except mobile phones. The agreement, whose financial terms were not disclosed, effectively puts an end to competing NFL series such as ESPN Football (Sega/Take Two), NFL Blitz (Midway), NFL Gameday (Sony), and NFL Fever (Microsoft). EA currently produces two NFL series, Madden NFL and NFL Street; the giant publisher is currently the only company still releasing football titles on the GameCube, GBA, and DS, and it looks like that will not change in the near future. The full press release from EA is below.
EA Enters into Exclusive Agreements with NFL and PLAYERS INC to Expand and Integrate Customer Entertainment Experience
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 13, 2004--Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced exclusive licensing relationships with the National Football League and PLAYERS INC to develop, publish and distribute interactive football games. These five-year agreements -- which EA negotiated separately -- give EA the exclusive rights to the NFL teams, stadiums and players for use in its football videogames. Both agreements also include exclusive rights for console online features. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
For the first time, all aspects of the interactive experience -- including console-based fantasy football features and handheld game devices -- will be fully integrated with one EA game. This also provides the opportunity for new games and for EA to access both NFL Films and the NFL Network for use in the games.
"We are pleased to expand our agreement with Electronic Arts, the leading video game manufacturer and a valued NFL partner," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "We look forward to working with EA to continue to enhance the quality of NFL video games that our fans have enjoyed for many years."
"For more than a decade, EA has produced the most authentic football product for fans of the game," said PLAYERS INC Chairman Gene Upshaw. "This exclusive relationship will maximize the value of NFL players through EA's continued commitment to bring fans closer to the game."
"We are excited about the opportunity to further enhance our relationship with the NFL and PLAYERS INC," said Larry Probst, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Arts. "The five-year agreements will usher NFL fans through the console technology transition with new ideas and innovative game play experiences."
Both agreements are exclusive for action simulation, arcade-style and manager games on the PC, handheld game devices and consoles -- including console online features. The agreements do not include exclusive rights to other types of games or games accessible from the Internet or wireless devices, including cellular phones.
Madden NFL Football from the EA SPORTS(TM) brand has sold more than 42 million copies over the franchise's 15 year history. Madden NFL 2005, the most complete football game ever, is available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance, the PlayStation(R) console and PC. NFL STREET 2 for the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox system and Nintendo GameCube will be on store shelves by December 26, 2004. Both games were developed by EA Tiburon, and rated "E" (Everyone) by the ESRB. The games official websites are www.madden2005.com and www.nflstreet2.com.