Update: On the EA blog, EA Sports executive vice president Andrew Wilson delivered the following statement:
By now, most fans will have heard that EA’s licensing agreement with the NCAA is set to expire and that we have agreed to part ways. I’m sure gamers are wondering what this means.
This is simple: EA SPORTS will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks. Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.
We took big creative strides with this year’s college game and you’ll see much more in the future. We love college football and look forward to making more games for our fans.
Original Story: Somewhat out of the blue, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has decided not to renew its contract with EA Sports after its current contract ends in 2014, the organization announced on its website.
The move will, then on, prohibit EA Sports from using NCAA branding on its games. The NCAA Football 2014 game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo. Our mostly positive review if you haven’t read it.
NCAA ascribes the decision to the “current business climate and costs of litigation”: corporate speak for ‘we are tired of lawsuits.’
Now some of you are probably freaking out, dumped with news that at a glance sounds like the end of the NCAA Football franchise, but hold on a second. As the NCAA points out, it has “never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA.” So, unless something goes horribly wrong, there will be continued entries. It’s just that they will no longer bare the NCAA branding.
Here’s the NCAA’s statement in its entirety:
The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.
The NCAA has never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA. The NCAA has no involvement in licenses between EA and former student-athletes. Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.