The Aftermath – EA Loses NCAA Branding Rights
By Dan Maurer
It is official ladies and gentlemen. NCAA 14 will be the final EA College Sports game to use the NCAA license. EA has had exclusive rights to the NCAA license since the first game was released way back in 1998. Individual schools however still have the right to negotiate deals with EA regarding licensing. As of this article posting, the SEC and several other conferences have joined the NCAA in seizing the ability for EA to use its licensing and imaging in their game after this years entry. Here is a statement from the SEC:
“Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game(s), the Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do so moving forward.”
Obviously this will be a big blow to the franchise as now EA will have to rely on its ability to market and sell a college football game without many of the name brand licenses it once held.
It was back on July 17th, that the National Collegiate Athletic Association decided against renewing its contract with EA, meaning the contract will expire in June 2014. NCAA Football 14, released July 9th, will be the last game in EA’s college football series that can feature ‘NCAA’ in its title or the NCAA logo in game. Within hours of the announcement, however, EA Sports Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson posted the following on EA’s website:
“This is simple: EA SPORTS will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks. Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, conferences and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.”
On top of all that, the class action multiple lawsuits alleging, among other things, that the NCAA Football series uses current amateur players’ likenesses without their permission or compensating and the recent litigation that claimed EA had ‘monopolized an alleged market for interactive football software’ them has cost EA a pretty penny. EA has announced via their legal team that a $27 million dollar settlement fund (in response to the monopoly lawsuit) is being set up for anyone who purchased Madden, NCAA Football or AFL licensed games since 2005 (AFL is EA Sports’ Australian Rules Football series; not to be confused with 2006′s Arena Football).
Pending court approval on September 27th, $6.79 per game will be reimbursed on all purchases for Xbox, PS2 and GameCube titles, and $1.95 for games on the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii. Directions for claiming the money will be made available at a later date. Only time will tell if EA can dig itself out of the hole it has put itself into regarding the lost of lucrative licenses with the NCAA.
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