Perhaps I’m reading a bit into
this press release from the NFL and EA, but it sounds like EA managed to lock up the rights to anything related to the NFL effectively putting the competition on the sidelines for at least the next five years:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Dec. 13, 2004—Electronic Arts 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 video games. Both agreements also include exclusive rights for console online features. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
I suppose the makers of competing football video games can still produce their titles as long as they don’t mind the teams, players, and stadiums all being fictional, but somehow I don’t think the fans are going to think that’s a great idea. It’s certainly one way to put a screeching halt on Sega’s decision to sell their titles for $20.