EA Sports and LaLiga have signed a multiyear title sponsorship agreement that will expand their prior licensing deal. The deal, which starts in 2023-24, will include rebranded logos and graphics, in-game integration, broadcast highlights and grassroots community programming.
This enhanced partnership is part of EA Sport’s strategy to strengthen its licensing deals with leagues and clubs after ending its 30-year partnership with FIFA. EA will integrate IP from LaLiga along with inventory from existing deals with the EPL and MLS, among others, in a new game called EA Sports FC.
The $150 million-a-year agreement with FIFA ended in May after soccer’s governing body wanted to double the fee. David Jackson, VP of brand, EA Sports FC, said that money was a factor in negotiations, but his company ended its partnership with FIFA amicably. For the fiscal year 2022, EA Sports posted net revenue of approximately $7 billion.
“We have a slightly separate vision now for a future of interactive football. We’re making that decision strategically to free ourselves up to be able to make decisions of our own on behalf of our fans around the world,” Jackson said in a Zoom interview. “We’re going to reinvest those dollars differently to benefit football fans globally. And this LaLiga partnership is good first phase evidence of that.”
The change from FIFA to EA Sports FC is a significant rebrand for a series that’s reportedly generated more than $20 billion in sales over the past 20 years. Aside from the name, the most significant change to the game will be that the World Cup and other FIFA-controlled events will not be featured.
“EA has clearly had a lot of time to prepare for this event to occur,” Gareth Sutcliffe, a gaming industry analyst for the London-based media and telecom-focused Enders Analysis, said in a phone interview. “They’re probably finding it refreshing that they can do really interesting things with clubs and players around the franchise, which is what they’ve always wanted to do.”
EA Sports is strengthening its partnerships with top-flight soccer leagues to ensure the continuity of its most successful video game. The California-based company has over 300 licensed IP partners. “We have 30-plus leagues, 700-plus teams, and 19,000 athletes in the game. And a lot of those partnerships are exclusive,” Jackson said.
EA Sports also has exclusive partnerships with top soccer leagues such as Premier League, Bundesliga and MLS. This new partnership will encompass the first and second divisions of LaLiga, LaLiga Promises (the league’s annual youth tournament) and eLaLiga.
“EA Sports represents the cutting edge of interactive football experiences, while LaLiga is at the forefront of actual football competitions with unmatched in-person, broadcast and digital fan experiences,” said Javier Tebas, LaLiga’s president. “We have been strategic partners with EA Sports for years and this expanded agreement is a commitment to providing the next level of innovation to all football fans, a fusion between the virtual and real worlds of football.”
More details of the partnership will be shared in the coming months, with information on EA Sports FC products being made available in the summer of 2023.