EA/ESPN Deal Announced
Unsportsmanlike conduct? EA lands an exclusive ESPN license for the next 15 years.
Electronic Arts today announced a long-term agreement with ESPN that will see the development and integrated marketing of EA Sports games containing ESPN content. The deal, which spans fifteen years (yes, you read that right...FIFTEEN YEARS!), comes as a crippling blow to rival developers/publishers Visual Concepts, Take-Two Interactive and Sega, who previously held the ESPN license in their critically acclaimed sports titles. As a result of the deal, ESPN integration will appear in EA Sports console, handheld, PC and wireless games beginning in 2006 or rather "upon the conclusion of ESPN's existing video game licensing commitments".
"This relationship was created to benefit consumers who are passionate about sports games," said Larry Probst, Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO. "EA Sports recreates the real life experience fans enjoy while watching or playing their favorite sport; while ESPN programming captures the look, sound and excitement of the sports they follow. Together, we believe we can significantly grow the interactive sports category."
The deal, while spanning fifteen years, offers an option to terminate after ten years under "certain conditions" and also gives EA exclusive first rights to all ESPN content for simulation sports games. The relationship will include established EA Sports franchises that will be enhanced by ESPN telecast, print and online content, in addition to new sports games to be published by EA based on ESPN media properties. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. No statement from Visual Concepts/Take-Two/Sega regarding the agreement has been made as of yet.