Following a long protracted falling out with sports organisation FIFA, EA Sports has formally announced that it is ditching the ‘FIFA’ brand name for its annual football sim.
For the first time in almost 30 years, the ‘FIFA’ brand will be missing from Electronic Arts football game in 2023, with the company opting to instead name the series ‘EA Sports FC’; which is about as catchy as when Konami decided to change the name of Pro Evolution Soccer to ‘eFootball’.
EA has been “exploring the idea of renaming” their leading sports title for several years and last October it was revealed why. According to a New York Times report, the ten-year agreement between EA and FIFA was coming to an end in 2022, and FIFA was seeking “more than double” the amount of money to extend that deal.
This report suggested that the new deal would have cost EA over $1bn for each four-year World Cup cycle, which feels like an eye-watering amount of money. Despite the change in name, EA has told fans that the game itself will remain largely unchanged.
“Next year, EA SPORTS FC will become the future of football from EA SPORTS,” EA Sports executive Cam Weber explained in a press release sent ahead of EA’s annual financial briefing later today.
“Alongside our 300+ license partners across the sport, we’re ready to take global football experiences to new heights, on behalf of all football fans around the world. Everything you love about our games will be part of EA Sports FC – the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes, Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs and Volta Football will all be there.
“Our unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues that we’ve continued to invest in for decades will still be there, uniquely in EA Sports FC. That includes exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, the MLS – and more to come.”
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— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) May 10, 2022
EA said it would share more detail on EA Sports FC in summer 2023.
“Our vision for EA Sports FC is to create the largest and most impactful football club in the world, at the epicenter of football fandom,” said Electronic Arts boss Andrew Wilson. “For nearly 30 years, we’ve been building the world’s biggest football community – with hundreds of millions of players, thousands of athlete partners, and hundreds of leagues, federations, and teams. EA Sports FC will be the club for every one of them, and for football fans everywhere.
“We’re thankful for our many years of great partnership with FIFA. The future of global football is very bright, and fandom around the world has never been stronger. We have an incredible opportunity to put EA Sports FC at the heart of the sport, and to bring even more innovative and authentic experiences to the growing football audience.”
As for this year, EA Sports has confirmed that the new release will still feature the usual ‘FIFA’ branding, but after that, it’ll be gone for good.