It turns out that the reason publisher Electronic Arts (EA) will be renaming (or rebranding) its FIFA franchise is because the real-world FIFA governing body wants to double its licensing fee.
According to a report by The New York Times earlier today, EA and FIFA have been negotiating a contract renewal for at least two years now but which “have hit the wall” according to sources close to the matter.
FIFA wants EA to pay double the previously set amount for continued rights to its sports license for the next four-year period, which amounts to more than $1 billion. That in addition to taking rights away from EA to be able to monetize its FIFA games beyond the games themselves.
The current contract will expire for EA after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. That gives the publisher just a little more time to either successfully renegotiate terms for a renewal or accept the terms set forth by FIFA.
Take note that contract only allows EA to use the FIFA name and related branding in the games. The contract has nothing to do with other licenses which the publisher uses for player names and their likeness, player kits, stadiums, and such.
FIFA has “official partnerships and licenses across the football world” which in turn cover “over 300 individual licensed partners” for “17,000+ athletes across 700+ teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues.” That will all remain the same moving forward with a complete rebranding and as such, the agreement EA has with the football governing body has nothing to do with the said licenses.
A few days back, EA was discovered to have filed multiple trademarks for something called EA Sports FC which is being taken as the new name of the FIFA franchise. Hence, if the trademarks are indeed what they are being said to be, sports fans can expect EA to announce FIFA 23 as EA Sports FC 23 next year.