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Amid FIFA Name Change Talks, EA Brings Creative Production In-house

From conception to execution, EA’s “HyperMotion Begins” spot was developed entirely without third parties, a new direction for creative promotion as a potential divorce from FIFA looms.

In the first 22 days following EA Sports’ FIFA 22 game release, players around the world have rung up some mind-boggling stats. So far, there have been:

  • 1.1 billion matches played
  • Five billion goals scored
  • 12.3 billion total minutes logged

And HyperMotion Technology, a new feature in editions of the game on next-gen consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, is a driving force in this.

To coincide with the global launch of FIFA 22, EA Sports debuted an all-new promo spot, HyperMotion Begins, starring David Beckham, cover star Kylian Mbappé, Wrexham AFC owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Zinedine Zidane, Son Heung-Min, Alex Scott, and Instagram stars like Chunkz, among many other notables.

The two-and-a-half-minute creative tells the origin story behind the power of the game’s new HyperMotion Technology, which replicates the real world of football. For the first time in the brand’s history,  the film is supported by a global OOH and digital buy, with regional versions of the creative running in various markets starring local footballers, celebrities, and talent.

In previous years, FIFA has allowed a third-party production company to create its milestone launch creative assets. This year was the first time in EA Sports’ history the film was developed by the in-house FIFA team at EA SPORTS, from conception to execution.

“Part of that decision comes down to not only building the team and being in a confident spot to bring it in but also the level of flexibility and efficiency we need during those moments,” said Paul Marr, Head of Marcom Creative at EA SPORTS in an interview. “That flexibility and quick decision making throughout the process was great. The sense of accomplishment the team feels when you wholly own a creative piece like that is motivating.”

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Marr hasn’t ruled out the possibility of working with creative agencies on projects to come.

“It’s definitely not a sign that we will never work with an agency again,” he said. “In fact, we still work with agencies across EA. It will just depend on what the project is.”

He also noted that EA’s decision to bring the production in-house wasn’t because the FIFA 22 budget was lower than previous years.

Outside of the new HyperMotion Begins spot, EA Sports could be preparing for an even bigger move: divorcing its flagship game from FIFA. As The New York Times notes, FIFA has requested that EA pay $1 billion every four years (yes, read that again). FIFA currently receives an annual licensing fee of about $150 million for the game.

For context, Sportico reported that EA Sports’ current deal for the Madden franchise them paying over $1 billion to the NFL over five years.

EA has already registered a trademark for the phrase “EA Sports FC” should the two sides not come to terms on a way forward.

“As we look ahead, we’re exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games,” said Cam Weber, EA Sports’ executive president and general manager. “This means we’re reviewing our naming right agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.” 

FIFA released a statement of its own:

“FIFA is bullish and optimistic about its long-term future in gaming and esports following a comprehensive and strategic assessment of the gaming and interactive entertainment market.”

All told, a name change may be a necessary next step. But according to Marr, the strategy for the franchise doesn’t change.

“We’ll follow that conversation,” he said. “If it changes, we’ll be ready to figure out how EA Sports makes sure that the world knows our football experience is as premium and engaging as ever.”