The company wants more time to “build a very immersive college football experience” after initially hoping to release a new version of the highly anticipated game in 2023.
After originally announcing its college football video game would return in 2023, EA Sports has delayed the release of the anticipated game until 2024.
“That’s the best date for us to bring the game that we think is going to meet or exceed our player expectations, and cover the breadth and scale of what we want in the game,” EA Sports Vice President and General Manager Daryl Holt told ESPN. “We’re trying to build a very immersive college football experience.”
Holt cited that wanting to build the best product and having to build the game from the foundation up are the main reasons for the delay.
An NCAA football game has not been released since 2013 when Michigan’s Denard Robinson graced the cover. One of the main issues that’s been in the way of the college football game relaunching in recent years has been paying the players within the game. With athletes now being able to profit off their name, image, and likeness, a path to compensating the athletes is now available.
“If you look back on where we were talking in 2021, that road was blocked. … Well the road’s open now, but it’s still under construction,” Holt said.
Construction is a good way of putting it. Through group licensing, OneTeam Partners is one of the workers helping to clear the way.
“What is going to have to happen is the aggregation of those rights into a group that then EA and potentially 2K on the basketball side can use to include those athletes on the video game,” OneTeam Partners Senior Vice President of Licensing Malaika Underwood said in a 2021 interview with Boardroom. “We, OneTeam, would be responsible for compensating those athletes once they are included in the game. That is the infrastructure that we are building.”
Thus far, per ESPN’s story, EA has secured rights to all 10 FBS conferences and the College Football Playoff. Holt did not say if FCS schools and HBCUs would be included in the game. Within those schools are over a thousand athletes that would need to be paid when the game releases. The NFL’s deal with EA is worth $1.6 billion and the players’ share is reportedly worth $600 million, according to Sportico.
“In a product like a video game, they will share equally in the revenue that is generated from that game. The quarterback will get the same as a right guard for their inclusion in that game. But just like in Madden, the cover athletes will have additional opportunities to make more money based on their individual value,” Underwood explained.
To the dismay of many fans, EA has bought itself 12 months of time to continue working at the return of what will likely be a game title something along the lines of “NCAA Football 2025” or “College Football 2025.”
“Part of our challenge is to look at how do we authentically represent the world of sports, and in this case the college football landscape,” Holt told Boardroom last year. “There’s new things that are coming down the pike here in the world of college football. So I think we’ll look at all types of opportunities to make sure we’re authentically representing that sport.”
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