EA Sports is reportedly on the verge of agreeing to a new six-year deal with the English Premier League worth some £488 million — a contract said to be worth more than double the value of the original deal.
Sky Sports reports that clubs were briefed on the deal on Friday, which is expected to bring in more than £80 million annually. In return, EA will retain the rights to some of the most popular teams in the world, including Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool.
The new deal reflects the strength of the EPL, which has grown into the most profitable league in the world thanks to its lucrative television deals. It has made the EPL an international powerhouse, allowing it to steal away major stars like Erling Haaland.
The EPL’s brand recognition makes it a major catch for EA, which recently lost the FIFA license after the group reportedly asked for some $1 billion. In addition to changing the name for the first time in nearly 30 years, EA Sports FC will lose access to the World Cup. However, EA has signed deals with hundreds of teams and athletes, as well as more than 30 leagues, allowing it to retain real-world names and venues.
This gives it a valuable edge over Konami’s eFootball series, which has signed valuable deals with clubs including Barcelona, Manchester United, and Inter Milan, but otherwise lags well behind EA’s soccer juggernaut in terms of licenses.
The FIFA series, now renamed EA Sports FC, has been a juggernaut for EA, raking in billions of dollars thanks to its heavily-monetized FIFA Ultimate Team mode. It has allowed EA to remain profitable even as its traditional releases have slowed.
Our review of FIFA 23 called it a “bombastic swan song for the series” but criticized its lack of attention to modes outside of FUT.
“EA’s Spartan approach to the modes that don’t make money ensures FIFA 23 is an all-too-familiar beast to previous years, and Ultimate Team’s offensive focus on microtransactions continues to take much of the fun out of it,” we wrote.
EA claims that the lack of licensing restrictions will offer the series more creative freedom. We’ll be able to see for ourselves when EA Sports FC launches later this year.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.