“FIFA” may bring back images of soccer’s great players like Pele, Zinedine Zidane, and Lionel Messi. Some may be reminded of corruption and shameless bribery by the acronym for the sport’s governing board.
It’s the videogame that many associates with FIFA.
The relationship between EA Sports and the Switzerland-based soccer organization has been strong for over three decades. FIFA believes it could make more by selling the annual video game and related products.
FIFA broke off its licensing partnership with Electronic Arts Inc. Tuesday. FIFA23 is now the last EA game with the FIFA logo and the Electronic Arts Inc. logo.
They are becoming enemies.
EA will continue to produce soccer games featuring the best players and most effective teams. They will be renamed EA Sports FC.
Perhaps confusingly, FIFA24 should also be available on the shelves next year because the soccer body is keen to launch its own product.
EA has already begun to emphasize its advantages over FIFA since it owns the rights to show 19,000 FIFA players in 100 stadiums. Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Manchester United and Barcelona will still be there, along with their top players.
David Jackson, vice-president of the brand at EA SPORTS FIFA, stated that “that is the only place where you can have an authentic and famous football experience.” “I think there is some confusion in the market.”
FIFA’s hyperbole is already being used to undermine EA’s marketing. It claims it talks with multiple gaming companies and plans to enter the metaverse.
Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, stated, “I can guarantee you that the only authentic, true game that bears the FIFA name will have the best one for gamers and football lovers.”
It is not clear how this will happen, but FIFA holds the rights to the world’s largest soccer event. The EA game will no longer include the World Cup.
Infantino stated that the FIFA name was the only original global title. “FIFA 23, FIFA 24 and FIFA 25, FIFA 26 and FIFA 26, etc. — The constant is the FIFA Name, and it will continue forever and remain the Best.”
This kind of reckless talk makes FIFA feel pressure to fulfil Infantino’s vision for an EA game, despite not being able to feature leagues like the Premier League and the teams that play there.
Andrew Mark, an analyst at Raymond James covering digital media, stated that new entrants would have to face a steep licensing curve to compete with EA.
EA is a significant player in soccer gaming. This week’s annual report showed that EA had $6.19 billion in revenue.
Andrew Wilson, EA Sports CEO, stated that EA Sports had just experienced their biggest year ever for FIFA games. This was just a day after the FIFA deal was announced.
The Ultimate Team mode is a significant revenue source, allowing customers to purchase additional content in EA Sports games. This generated $1.623 trillion in 2021.
EA stated to investors that FIFA is the market’s largest and most popular game. Annualized versions are consistently the best-selling game in the marketplace.
Starting next year, brand loyalty will be crucial. Will gamers stick with EA’s new product, or will they switch to FIFA’s rival?
This was the old Pro Evolution Soccer game from the Japanese company Konami. It is already a competitive market thanks to eFootball. Manchester United has entered into a partnership for the game, but the 20-time English champions will continue to be featured in EA’s game under a Premier League agreement.
EA has warned its investors about rivals’ potential dangers to its soccer gaming business.
EA stated in its annual report that “any events or circumstances that negatively affect our FIFA franchise, like product or service quality or other products that take a part of consumer spending, the delay of a product launch or cancellation, increased competition for compulsory licences, or actual and perceived security risks could adversely impact our financial results.
JPMorgan analyst David Karnovsky stated in a client note that EA should be able to compete with FIFA by keeping its 300 license partners and 30 leagues and Federations, 700 teams, and 19,000 athletes.
Karnovsky stated that “While it is difficult to believe there won’t at least some impact from brand shift to sales,” and that the $150 million available due to FIFA’s absence of license fees to FIFA allows ample marketing space to drive awareness about EA Sports FC.
EA has many benefits from disentangling itself from world soccer politics. Because of tensions among regional confederations, CONMEBOL in South America and UEFA in Europe were able to bypass FIFA and launch their meeting to crown champions. On June 1, Argentina and Italy will meet at Wembley Stadium in London. EA would be odd to promote FIFA at the match, as it seems strange.
“What name would you put on a perimeter board at a UEFA CONMEBOL event?” Jackson, EA’s vice president of the brand, said that it was difficult for them to include FIFA on the perimeter board. “What was once a springboard and an accelerator to our brand many years ago has become less valuable over the years.”
EA may have also saved FIFA’s brand. Many fans have a fond relationship with FIFA video games. This helped offset the toxic effects of Sepp Blatter’s organization in 2015 when they opened extensive criminal investigations into soccer corruption.
“We are the dominant voice in football’s interactive entertainment world, and we don’t see any world where that changes.” Jackson stated, “If you ask young football fans what FIFA is, they are more likely to answer a video game than they are the global ruling body. But that value lives with me, I believe.”