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NCAA announces it will not renew its contract with EA Sports
NCAA announces it will not renew its contract with EA Sports
July 17, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

July 17, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced it will not be renewing its contract with EA Sports, currently set to expire in June 2014.

The decision comes at the heels of several lawsuits in the last few years, including a class-action suit which finally went to trial in 2012, involving NCAA players' likenesses being used without compensation in EA Sports titles.

In its statement, NCAA maintained that it had never licensed the likenesses or names of its student athletes to EA, and that NCAA member colleges and universities could continue licensing arrangements on their own terms.

The full statement follows below, reproduced from NCAA's website.

"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."
A separate entity, the Collegiate Licensing Company, licenses a great deal of the content for EA's NCAA football games, meaning that some version of the title might be allowed to continue if these licenses persist, but it would likely not be called NCAA Football at that point. ESPN's Brett McMurphy commented on this likelihood over Twitter.


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Comments


Joseph Arcidiacono
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First sign of lawsuits against college and pro football making an impact on business decisions. I fear it won't be the last.

Michael Weisbecker
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This is actually not as big of a deal as some may think. College football is the only sport where the NCAA has no control over the championship. Pretty much all EA is getting out of it is the name NCAA and extra set of restrictions. All the schools, conferences, and bowl games are all licensed through the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). EA made college football games without the NCAA license before. Maybe we will see the return of "College Football USA" next year.

Daniel Lau
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I seriously doubt this will end the lawsuits. I think its more likely that the class action suits will focus their attention on EA directly. The NCAA was very clearly sending the message that copying player likenesses was done by EA without the NCAA's permission, implying that the NCAA should not be the ones targeted by the lawsuits in the first place. How likely is it that EA is going to stick with college football with this headache on their hands?


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