FIFA 23 marks the end of a 30-year era after Electronic Arts balked at the international governing body's demand of one billion dollars for a license renewal, paving the way for EA Sports FC 24 and beyond.
What bold new direction will EA take now that its longstanding relationship with FIFA is over?
We've gotten our first indication with news that EA and the English Premier League are close to a six-year extension on their current rights fee which would be worth nearly $600 million (double the current deal).
That would equate to $97 million annually for the PL and nearly $5 million for each of the division's 20 clubs. Comparatively, last August EA and LaLiga signed a five-year deal worth $30.5 million annually.
The real world impact of people lining the pockets of EA through Ultimate Team (over $1.6 billion in revenue each year) is pretty staggering. Not only will EA step up its presence as a primary sponsor and partner of the Premier League, it's another example (if you really needed one after the January transfer window) of how England's top flight is obliterating Europe's other big leagues in revenue. Over in Spain, Barcelona is trying a sign a first-ever shorts sponsor. There are levels.
The deal would be a lasting coup for EA by ensuring that the world's most popular league remains in their stable for years to come — effectively crushing any competition that attempts to gain a foothold in the space (like if FIFA wanted to launch its own franchise eventually). The timing also couldn't be better with FIFA 23 already including DLC for both the 2022 men's and 2023 women's FIFA World Cups — from a licensing standpoint, EA Sports FC 24 is largely free to focus on the club game with the next World Cup not arriving until 2026. (I think FIFA and U.S. Soccer should team up and make 'USMNT 26' to rival EA Sports FC.)
Nike is already on board with EA Sports FC, and the sportswear giant promised us more info in July.
Football, meet FutureWe’re proud to be partnering with #EASPORTSFC to expand the future of the beautiful game. More to come July 2023. You ready? pic.twitter.com/CFIfWzFUHh
— Nike Football (@nikefootball) May 10, 2022
FIFA 23 in on track to be the best-selling edition in franchise history. It sold 10.3 million copies in its first week, and sales of FIFA 23 in North America are up 50% year over year.