No More FIFA – EA trademarks EA SPORTS FC

No More FIFA – EA trademarks EA SPORTS FC

FIFA publisher EA SPORTS will probably actually rename the football simulation. The name change becomes concrete, documents show that the name EA SPORTS FC has been secured as a trademark. FIFA's demands are too high.
FIFA 22 renaming new name EA Sports
What does the future of FIFA look like? | © EA Sports/EarlyGame

Since the release of FIFA 22, over 9 million have dived into the depths of the football simulation. A total of 7.5 million even tried their luck in the Ultimate Team mode. Even though 35 percent fewer discs were sold this year, FIFA 22 has overtaken its predecessor in terms of sales figures. FIFA 21's title as the most successful FIFA of all time could soon be passed on.

But what are EA Sports' next steps? Is the publisher resting on its success? Not at all! There is supposed to be a revolution – EA wants to rename FIFA! But what's behind that information?

In a press release from EA, Cam Weber, Executive Vice President of EA Sports, stated that the publisher is reviewing the naming rights contracts with the international football association (FIFA) and is considering a possible name change.

The reasons are quite clear: EA pays FIFA a large sum every year to be able to use the name. On the other hand, the game series needs a fresh look – similar to what its competitor Konami did with PES and eFootball.

A New Name For FIFA? EA Sports Wants To Rename Its Brand

Every year, EA pays around a 100 million US dollars to the non-profit organization FIFA (lol) for its naming rights. Sure, EA earns over 1.5 billion euros every bloody year just with Ultimate Team, nevertheless, the naming rights and the associated high costs could be a reason for the publisher to rethink. Should the contract have to be renegotiated, its price could also rise. The football simulation continues to grow and convinces millions of people every year to spend money for FUT (I really don't know why). Then why not just ask for more money for the naming rights?

To avoid higher costs, EA could take the cheaper path like Konami, renaming its successful gaming brand. The Japanese publisher has decided to rename its Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) to eFootball and give it a new face. In retrospect, it didn't work out that well, because if a game is shitty, even a new name doesn't help much.

New Trademark: EA SPORTS FC Could Replace FIFA

Although the sales figures are insane and EA swims in money thanks to sick profits from FIFA Ultimate Team, the contract with FIFA, which expires in 2022, will not be extended. The contract was last negotiated in 2013; it will end after December 31, 2022. After more than 30 years of "FIFA" on our shelves and consoles, we have to get used to a new name.

The plans for this became concrete, because on the weekend of October 9/10, there was the official confirmation that EA has secured the name EA SPORTS FC as a brand. We don't want to say anything too spectacular, but: The name change will actually come.

No, seriously: It all sounds very concrete - but it can of course also be a negotiating tactic from EA. If they have serious plans to rename the series, then FIFA has a worse negotiating position and may ask less for naming rights.

FIFA Wants Billions – New License Agreement Unrealistic

As the New York Times reported, FIFA is said to have increased its demands significantly. While the last contract ran for 10 years (approx. 1 bln USD), the world association now wants to demand more than the double. According to some sources, EA Sports is asked to pay 1 bln USD every four years from now on. From FIFA's perspective you can understand the demands, after all, EA is becoming richer and richer with its franchise. Will the publisher agree?

But supposedly it's not all about the money. Insiders have reported that FIFA does not agree to EA Sports' exclusivity claims. The world association wants to limit EA's monopoly and look for other revenues with its name. EA Sports, on the other hand, demands that, for example, highlights from real games can be shown in the game itself. You see: Both sides have different ideas.

The decision shall be made at the end of the year. Neither FIFA nor EA Sports want to comment on the ongoing negotiations. But to calm your down, if EA Sports really ends up renaming its franchise, it won't have as much of an impact on actual gaming. EA holds an extremely large number of licenses to leagues, clubs and players, basically it's just about the name of the game and the realistic representation of the world championship. The publisher can actually do without the license.

In his other sports games such as Madden NFL or NHL, such a dispute would have heavier effects. Madden is based on two key licenses – the rights to the league itself and the rights to the players. If EA lost one of them, the game would be over. In contrast, the FIFA dispute is all about money... and maybe a little bit of prestige.

Fun fact: FIFA is a little dependent on the income from the contract with EA Sports. President Gianni Infantino has to somehow raise 2 billion USD for his insane projects in the upcoming years. A new contract with EA would help him a lot. So the negotiations could go on.

Will FIFA 23 Be Free To Play?

In fact, Konami could play a very big role in this story. With the F2P model, the Japanese company has caused some big trouble among its competitors, and rumors have spread that FIFA 23 will also be Free To Play. EA could then only focus on Ultimate Team and keep making money with it.

But before everyone screams and cries about how career mode will die under such conditions – calm down, there is another option. Perhaps EA is planning a second FIFA series similar to FIFA Online 4 for its western market. The free version of FIFA, which is currently only available for the Asian market, is obviously also writing record numbers and could now also become relevant for the rest of the world. But as for now, we can't say what's happening for sure.

Should FIFA really get renamed, it would be like an earthquake. We have known the series by that name since 1993. I can hardly imagine anything else... But we will probably buy EA SPORTS FC 23 or something in the future. EAFC 23...? We're just speculating.

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