The Sports Business Journal, and more recently ESPN magazine, have both printed the same story: EA and the NFLPA are on the verge of signing a deal that would see EA paying the NFLPA 250 million dollars per year, over a four year time period, in order to be the only videogame company able to use any NFL player likenesses.
It is unknown exactly how strict the definitions being used are – for example, a certain existing jersey/number combination on a generic looking character model was considered a likeness for many years in the 16bit and 32bit eras, hence all the times we saw the NFLPA logo upon booting up the game. That said, it be ridiculous to think that EA would pay that much if it didnt mean that only they would be able to make facial reconstructions of of the players, for instance.
Such a deal would certainly cripple the competition – the most notable of which on Xbox is Sega Sports, and – in a manner of speaking – effectively allow EA to hold a monopoly over NFL football games. Along with their newfound support of EA Live, and consistently high-selling titles (27 platinum hits in the last year alone) it seems as though EA is looking to dominate with extreme prejudice.
We’ll have more on this potentially market-altering story as it progresses.