Electronic Arts and FIFA are officially parting ways. Negotiations over the game publisher's use of the FIFA brand in its wildly successful annual soccer franchise have ended without a renewal, EA announced on Tuesday.
That means EA will be rebranding its soccer games under a new name: EA Sports FC. The current deal with FIFA was set to expire after this year's World Cup, to be held in Qatar starting in November. But EA and FIFA have extended the deal to cover next year's Women's World Cup, after which EA's use of the FIFA name will cease. EA has in place hundreds of licensing deals that ensure it can still use player likenesses, team names and tournament branding for a vast majority of the global soccer industry.
The New York Times reported last year that contract negotiations to renew the decade-old deal had grown increasingly tense between EA and the global soccer governing organization, in particular over the amount of money FIFA was demanding and the limitations it wanted imposed on how EA could use its branding. A new report in The Times today says EA was also irked that FIFA was licensing its name out to other video games like Fortnite and Roblox.
"After nearly 30 years of creating genre-defining interactive football experiences, we will soon begin an exciting new era. Next year, EA Sports FC will become the future of football from EA Sports. Alongside our 300+ license partners across the sport, we’re ready to take global football experiences to new heights, on behalf of all football fans around the world," Cam Weber, the executive vice president and group general manager of EA Sports, wrote in a blog post.
Weber said EA Sports FC will be a "new independent platform" that "will allow us to realize this future and much more," but he also added that EA is committed to delivering one more FIFA game under the current arrangement, due out later this year.
"We’re dedicated to meaningfully reinvesting in the sport, and we’re excited to work with a large and increasing number of partners to expand to new authentic experiences that bring joy, inclusivity and immersion to a global community of fans. I look forward to sharing more detail on these plans in the coming months," he said.