EA Loses NCAA Football License [UPDATE]

EA Loses NCAA Football License [UPDATE]

NCAA Football 14 screenshot

Mere days after the release of EA's NCAA Football 14, the NCAA has announced that it will not renew its college football licensing contract with the games publisher.

NCAA Football 14 will be the last EA title to bear the official NCAA license, at least for the foreseeable future. That news comes courtesy of the NCAA itself, which explains the decision by saying that "given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA."

Costs of litigation? Oh right, the NCAA must be referring to the ongoing lawsuit brought against it by former UCLA athlete Ed O'Bannon which seeks not insignificant sums of money in return for the use of his image and those of other collegiate athletes. O'Bannon holds that the NCAA has been making huge profits by licensing away the likenesses of amateur athletes, and given that these athletes are a huge reason why people buy college sports videogames in the first place, O'Bannon wants his cut.

But what does this mean for EA? That depends. This could go in a number of different directions. While EA has yet to offer an official reaction to this news, it does not necessarily spell the end for the NCAA Football game franchise. The NCAA license merely gave EA the right to use official NCAA intellectual property (such as BCS Bowl names), whereas individual schools hold their own licensing rights. Thus, EA could continue the series without the NCAA license per se, though it would definitely be a vast departure from the newly-released NCAA 14.

On the other hand, since the NCAA Football franchise has been such a long-running, lucrative property for EA, the company might find some way to work out a new agreement with the NCAA that would allow the series to continue in its current form. There's any number of variables in play here, so this possibility is entirely up in the air.

The least likely scenario would be that EA ditches college football entirely. That NCAA license is very important, but EA makes far, far too much money on its college football titles to simply scrap the entire line. EA is a huge corporation after all, and it exists purely to generate as much money as possible. If there's any conceivable way to work out a deal with the NCAA, we have to assume that EA's legal team will figure it out.

Update: EA Sports executive vice president Andrew Wilson offers the company's official response:

By now, most fans will have heard that EA's licensing agreement with the NCAA is set to expire and that we have agreed to part ways. I'm sure gamers are wondering what this means.

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, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.

We took big creative strides with this year's college game and you'll see much more in the future. We love college football and look forward to making more games for our fans.

Source: NCAA

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EA will just find another group of people to ruthlessly profit from without giving them any of the profits from their $60 roster updates. Maybe Hobo Handegg, Single-mum Soccer or Illegal Immigrant Ice-Hockey will be on the cards?

CriticalMiss:
EA will just find another group of people to ruthlessly profit from without giving them any of the profits from their $60 roster updates. Maybe Hobo Handegg, Single-mum Soccer or Illegal Immigrant Ice-Hockey will be on the cards?

I'm gonna need a bit more explanation on "Hobo Handegg."

Diagrams might help.

Earnest Cavalli:

CriticalMiss:
EA will just find another group of people to ruthlessly profit from without giving them any of the profits from their $60 roster updates. Maybe Hobo Handegg, Single-mum Soccer or Illegal Immigrant Ice-Hockey will be on the cards?

I'm gonna need a bit more explanation on "Hobo Handegg."

Diagrams might help.

Fortunately diagrams exist, though they anger many because of the brutal honesty they convey. Behold!

image

Just throw in some Hobos, a few stray cats as goal posts and maybe a stale hotdog bun instead of the Superbowl and it's a multi-billion dollar sport in the making.

Earnest Cavalli:
EA is a huge corporation after all, and it exists purely to generate as much money as possible.

There may be more truth in this sentence than in every article ever posted on any internet site, ever.

Not just that, but the whole potential lawsuit of the Penn St. scandal involving Jerry Sandusky isn't helping either.

CriticalMiss:
Fortunately diagrams exist, though they anger many because of the brutal honesty they convey. Behold!

image

Just throw in some Hobos, a few stray cats as goal posts and maybe a stale hotdog bun instead of the Superbowl and it's a multi-billion dollar sport in the making.

Awwww! That's adorable!

I'm calling it Handegg from now on. Take THAT socio-political status quo!

Isn't American football called what it is because the ball is exactly 1 foot in length? That and it originated from rugby. Either way, I'd love for EA to lose all its football licenses because it means some other companies could throw their hats into the ring. I'd love to see a Football Manager type game but for American Football.

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, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not the franchise consistently accused of charging a full priced game for a roster update? So...no innovation at all then EA?

Clive Howlitzer:
Isn't American football called what it is because the ball is exactly 1 foot in length? That and it originated from rugby. Either way, I'd love for EA to lose all its football licenses because it means some other companies could throw their hats into the ring. I'd love to see a Football Manager type game but for American Football.

So what you're saying is that they resized a normal ball, but forgot to tick "maintain aspect ratio?" Noobs.

CriticalMiss:
EA will just find another group of people to ruthlessly profit from without giving them any of the profits from their $60 roster updates. Maybe Hobo Handegg, Single-mum Soccer or Illegal Immigrant Ice-Hockey will be on the cards?

I don't know how many times I explain...

you know what? No. No one on this site plays Madden, so why should I bother. Keep your judgements, as wrong as they are.

It's like trying to explain Skyrim to the ESPN message boards. It only makes me angry.

Furbyz:

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, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not the franchise consistently accused of charging a full priced game for a roster update? So...no innovation at all then EA?

Accused by people who never played the game, never will play the game, hate EA, and generally hate sports. So the same qualifications as me talking about theoretical nuclear physics.

This might be bad for those student athletes. It seems like the NCAA is too greedy and stupid to give them their fair share and prefer that everyone will lose.

Earnest Cavalli:

CriticalMiss:
Fortunately diagrams exist, though they anger many because of the brutal honesty they convey. Behold!

image

Just throw in some Hobos, a few stray cats as goal posts and maybe a stale hotdog bun instead of the Superbowl and it's a multi-billion dollar sport in the making.

Awwww! That's adorable!

I'm calling it Handegg from now on. Take THAT socio-political status quo!

I second that. It rarely comes in a conversation for me though.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

CriticalMiss:
EA will just find another group of people to ruthlessly profit from without giving them any of the profits from their $60 roster updates. Maybe Hobo Handegg, Single-mum Soccer or Illegal Immigrant Ice-Hockey will be on the cards?

I don't know how many times I explain...

you know what? No. No one on this site plays Madden, so why should I bother. Keep your judgements, as wrong as they are.

It's like trying to explain Skyrim to the ESPN message boards. It only makes me angry.

Take it easy, this is a video game forum, and these games are judged on their value as video-games, and not on how well they represent a certain sport. While they might be great sports games, they still look like yearly roster updates from a gaming perspective. While this isn't limited only to sports games, it's definitely most common within this genre.

Innovation? But ... how? It's football. There's really not much you can do with it. Unless you add landmines on the field, QTEs, or bullet time somehow. . . . I think I just gave them next year's new features. :(

The most "innovation" I've seen with a college football game came from when my brother and I used to play and we got bored of playing vanilla games. It turned into weird rules like "You can only use Hail Mary as offense and you have to blitz as defense" and "Who can get Ruffing the Kicker/Unneccesary Celebration the most".

 

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