Something is happening with the FIFA 21 licences. Once the undisputed king of licensing, EA Sports are finding it harder to keep that stature these days. Exclusive deals with the Milan giants - Internazionale and AC Milan, were announced, but at the same time, EA have lost one of the Italian capital teams - AS Roma.
EA Sports Sign FIFA 21 Exclusivity Deal with Inter and Milan
Last year revealed some cracks in the EA Sports licensing fortress. After years of pretty much undisputed dominance on the license market, the US publisher lost the rights to the most successful Italian club Juventus, who were known in FIFA 20 as Piemonte Calcio. Crest, logo, sponsors - all made up.
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Perhaps frightful of losing more ground in Italy, EA stepped up to sign exclusive deals with the Milan giants. Inter and AC Milan will feature with their original branding only in FIFA this year. So we want have any of that Intemonce and Milamonte Calcio crap. At least in Milan we won't.
Nick Wlodyka, vice-president and general manager at EA Sports said to Goal.com:
"Authenticity is incredibly important to our fans. Inter and Milan are two of the top three clubs in Serie A. We are making sure that we can represent them fully, authentically and now exclusively in our game".
That's cool and all, but things aren't as rosy outside the city of Milan. Another traditional club with passionate following has been lost.
FIFA 21 Will Do Without AS Roma
After losing Juventus last year, EA Sports will have to say goodbye to the official licensing of another major Italian club. AS Roma have not given permission to the FIFA publisher to use their licensed product - badge, stadium, kits, etc. for the new release of the game. Just like Juve turned into Piemonte Calcio for FIFA 20, Roma will be called FC Roma in FIFA 21, and Stadio Olimpico will be dubbed Stadion Olympik. A lot less subtle than Piemonte Calcio.
Players and their likeness is still very much available to EA to work with, so at least they got that going for them.
In the past, licensing deals were usually done on league basis - you get the entire Serie A roster, not pieces of it. As we develop capitalism further, we might as well get to a point where publishers will have to negotiate separately with each player, which would be quite hilarious actually. At least for now, we're still on club level and Piemonte Calcio/FC Roma is as far as it goes, but Kelvin De Briane doesn't feel too far fetched in a few years time.