Home / Electronic Arts, ESPN hook up in exclusive 15-year deal

Electronic Arts, ESPN hook up in exclusive 15-year deal

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By Ken Edwards & Matt Paprocki

The news is the second blow to current license-holder Sega (and its Visual Concepts development studio). It recently lost the right to publish sports games using the NFL license when EA scooped that license up. Now, it loses the right to the ESPN brand as well.

Source: GameSpot

So will Madden be out of the picture now? I found this as well:

What that will mean for EA’s long-standing Madden franchise remains unknown. Madden is under contract with the game publisher through this year, but has not signed beyond that. EA said negotiations are continuing.

Source: CNN Money

I especially like the quote at the end:

“I think there’s plenty of room for competition,” said Probst. “At the end of the day its who can build the highest quality products. There’s plenty of room for other third party companies – and console first-party companies – to do that. Just because EA Sports and ESPN are partnering I don’t think people are going to run for the hills and not compete with us.”

Just because EA Sports, who has an exclusive deal with the NFL, and ESPN are partnering I don’t think there will be any competition. But thats just my take. That 5 yr. NFL exclusive rights is a deal stopper, no?


Thanks to Matt for the GameSpot link, and this funny picture. I do not know where to give credit for the image.

I for one hope that Madden goes by-by. I cannot stand him or his wonderful color on ABC or in the game. He just spews out the most obvious information, all the time, in his annoying-as-hell voice. “If Randy Moss had caught that ball, he would have had a first down” is something that comes out of John Madden’s mouth on Monday Night Football, it is even worse in the game.

Since EA now has the ESPN namesake and the talent, I hope they put Dan Stevens and Peter o’ Keefe into the next EA game.

I also hope they throw out the play calling UI from Madden 2005. I found a copy of Madden 2005 in the bargain bin and I picked it up, what the heck. Of course it still cost me $10 more then the far superior NFL 2k5. I have not played Madden since the Genesis. I am not impressed with Madden 2005 one bit.

Hopefully the ESPN brand will help with the user interface. We can only hope.

Matt found these other quotes:

“Under the agreement, Electronic Arts, the largest independent video game publisher, will pay $750 million to $850 million for the right to use the ESPN brand for games based on at least nine sports”


“Electronic Arts announced an exclusive five-year deal with the National Football League to design games using its players, stadium and uniforms. That deal was worth more than $300 million.”

Even though the deal is quite a bit longer, it’s hard to believe ESPN was that much more than the NFL. I also can’t believe the NFL was that cheap.

Just think about this. More than a billion dollars. EA had a billion dollars just to throw around for these two deals. Am I the only one who finds that amount absolutely staggering for a game company??? I know how much this industry has grown, but that number is just unbelieveable to me.

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About Ken Edwards

  • EA user interface design sucks in every game I have tried. Tiger Woods 2004/2005, for example, has way too many OK steps between operations – saving profile -OK-updating list-OK-licking Tiger’s clubs-OK

    In my book, XBox only, Microsoft Game Studios has made better sport games – Links 2004, Top Spin.

    EA seems to be leveraging itself way beyond it’s scope. 2003 net income was $577 million out of sales of about $3 billion – a profit margin of 11%

  • G’day,
    I think the fact that EA has tried to monopolize the the Football gaming market, is extremely bad!
    For one thing, The 2K series has been far more interesting and fun than Madden from day one, and while I am a sega loyalist, I honestly think it was a better football game!
    It was easier to prohibit another company from doing any business, by getting exclusive rights to the NFL license, than just putting forth the effort to make a better product. Madden should get the re-hash of the decade award….
    Unless EA takes major steps in upgrading their football game, Im not buying it, you seen the stadiums in Madden?? they are the poorly done…VC kicks their_______ when it comes to polished, accurate stadium design, look at FedExfield, the video screens in the stadium are misplaced, the logos, banners have the wrong fonts, it just screams hack job, and when you have played the 2k series, you realize they were the ones setting the bar higher, not madden!
    that is just ONE example of why Sega’s game was a better product…It will truly be missed, and yeah, sure they can make a game with fictitious teams etc…but c’mon, what a joke!!
    Football gaming fans everywhere are going to miss their 2k games…I guarantee it