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Last week, EA said they were considering renaming FIFA, their long-running football series. The issue is that their licensing deal with football’s world governing body is up for renewal. Now a report by the New York Times says that the issue is that FIFA want double what they were getting before for EA to continue using the name.
“The core of the dispute is financial,” says the NYT report. “FIFA is seeking more than double what it currently receives from EA Sports, according to people with knowledge of the talks, a figure that would increase its payout from the series to more than $1 billion for each four-year World Cup cycle.”
Currently the licensing deal is worth around $150 million (around £109m) a year to FIFA.
It’s worth noting – and EA were keen to stress in their initial blog post – that losing the licensing deal with FIFA would not mean the loss of licensing rights to most leagues, teams and players. EA negotiate licensing deals with leagues and teams individually, and earlier this week renewed their contract with FIFPRO, which grants them most player likeness rights.
Aside from the name, losing the licensing deal with FIFA would prevent the use of trademarks owned by FIFA, such as the World Cup. Other tournaments, such as the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, would continue to feature.
Earlier this month, EA registered trademarks in the EU and Britain for the phrase “EA Sports F.C.”, prompting speculation that this could be the new name for the series.
I hope not, because that’s a dry and dull name. “FIFA” works well less because of its association to an infamously corrupt bureaucratic organisation and more because it’s just two punchy syllables. I’m not the type of person to have mates round to play FIFA, but I’ve seen Domino’s pizza adverts, and no man in a Domino’s pizza advert is going to invite their mate around for a game of EA Sports F.C. It doesn’t even contract well, as Call Of Duty shrinks to COD. EASFC? Gesundheit.
I suggest they call it PUNT, in all caps. You?