EA’s NFL Rights Deal Extended Several Years

EA’s NFL Rights Deal Extended Several Years

Madden will remain as the NFL's lone simulation-based game through at least the 2025 season.

Madden won’t be the only show in town anymore, but it will remain the headliner in video-game football for years to come.

NFL owners approved an extension of the league’s current rights deal with EA on Thursday, keeping the company as the sole producer of simulation-based NFL games through the 2025 season and potentially 2026 as originally reported by Sports Business Daily. The extension also includes non-exclusive rights to develop arcade-style and mobile games.

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Business-wise, the deal doesn’t come as much of a shocker. In terms of sales and engagement, Madden NFL 20 was the franchise’s biggest year yet. But for football fans, it’s not hard to be disappointed by the news. Players have had varying levels of concern over the franchise’s quality ever since EA gained the exclusive rights from Madden NFL 06 on, and have hoped for years that an alternative would re-emerge to offer choice and drive competition again.

EA’s grip on the NFL rights isn’t as strong as it used to be, with 2K having forged a multi-year partnership with the league two months ago to create “non-simulation” football games, but that hardly means we’ll see the likes of a proper NFL 2K, NFL Fever, or NFL GameDay anytime soon.

“Building on the most successful year ever for Madden NFL, this is a powerful time for EA Sports to come together with the NFL and the NFLPA in this new wide-reaching partnership,” EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in a joint press release with the NFL and NFLPA. “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to entertain more players through new Madden NFL experiences, games in new genres and on new platforms, esports, and new innovations that will grow fans’ love of the NFL around the world.”

Madden NFL 21 was officially announced during the Inside Xbox showcase on May 7. The game will be there for the launch of the next-gen Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 in the fall, and will have Baltimore Ravens quarterback (and league MVP) Lamar Jackson as its cover athlete.

The first look at the game is set for Monday.