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EA reveals FIFA-less name for soccer franchise: EA Sports FC

By Trent Murray

Update, 4:29 p.m. Eastern with FIFA's future plans for soccer games.

EA Sports announced today its plan for the future of its soccer video game franchise following the conclusion of its long-running naming-rights agreement with FIFA. Following the release of FIFA 23 later this year, the franchise will rebrand to EA Sports FC in 2023. The EA Sports FC brand will cover EA’s license agreements with 300 individual licensed partners, incorporating 30 global leagues and roughly 700 teams. The news comes ahead of EA’s quarterly earnings report today.

EA’s exclusive agreements include the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and Major League Soccer. The new brand strategy will not affect active titles, but new game modes and features will be incorporated into the company’s online and mobile experiences as well as esports. EA operates a global competition for the game known as the FIFA Global Series.

Also today, FIFA said it would enter partnerships for soccer games with other publishers. In a statement, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans. The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26, and so on — the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain the best."

EA and FIFA have collaborated on the long-running game series since 1993, and this brings an end to a nearly 30 years of brand-building around the FIFA name. This could add some risk to EA Sports moving forward when it comes to casual players (especially those who aren't invested in the Ultimate Team mode, a significant money-maker for EA). 

"EA Sports' agreements with the Premier League and the Champions League, among many others, keep the biggest clubs in EA's game. At the same time, removing the FIFA license also removes the restrictions that had been placed on partnerships and marketing/promotional opportunities EA could pursue," said analyst Mat Piscatella of The NPD Group. "Given what is known today (including all the uncertainties related to that), I wouldn't be changing any sales forecast for the franchise at this time based on this change. There are quite a few wheels turning here, however."

Game analyst Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis noted in a Twitter thread the risks that come from the name change.

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