In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about the EA Sports College Football video game and potential for profitability for college athletes, universities, brands, the NCAA, and more.
You can read the full column below.
The EA Sports College Football video game will launch in 2024 and the possibilities for NIL are seemingly endless. There was a time when it seemed that EA would leave college sports for good after UCLA basketball star and 1995 National Champion Ed O’Bannon sued the video game provider for utilizing and profiting off of his name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). The college landscape has completely changed since 1995 and especially since NIL legislation and NCAA rules opened up profitability for athlete marketing in 2021.
The EA Sports College Football video game will compensate athletes for use of their name, image, and likeness. There is also the possibility that the compensation may be in perpetuity if the athlete NIL is used beyond their college playing days. One could imagine a video game where historical players are used in the video game beyond their playing days when a gamer is so successful and/or unlocks some code.
The EA Sports College Football video game will also be a moneymaker for the universities and the NCAA where licensing for images, videos, and the like are needed in the digital setting of the game. There will also be licensing for the announcers in the video game, plus coaches, and potentially stadiums, name rights, brands/advertisements, and more. There is also the music in games and the licensing needed for use.
NFTs and the digital marketplace for apparel and physical apparel will also see an increase as the popularity of the video game grows. It is almost certain that NFTs and physical trading cards will be issued from the video game. All of these opportunities provide potential financial gain for college athletes, brands, universities, the NCAA, and the video game provider. Imagine Fortnite and the social and the economic impact, but for EA Sports College Football video game.
The success of the football version of the game may determine where EA Sports or other video game companies look to future opportunities in basketball and other college sports. With women’s sports on the rise in the college ranks with NIL and renewed interest by television and streaming distributors, growing markets is likely on the horizon. Esports tournaments will also benefit because of the new EA Sports College Football game as universities continue to add eSports as academic majors.
Despite recent news that entertainment, media, and sports companies are under pressure from the United States Department of Justice that mergers would be more heavily regulated as the market for mergers shrinks, EA Sports might be an acquisition target for another company. The EA Sports College Football game also provides added excitement for gamers and those profiting from the game where there is such high turnover of players as they leave for the National Football League. One might think the player turnover is a downside, but where there is the potential for more university and conference competition parity, gamers will have continued interest as their favorite university again has a chance to be good with incoming athletic talent. Indeed, if done right, EA Sports and college athletes are in for some serious profitability and exposure.
About Jeremy M. Evans:
Jeremy M. Evans represents entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Mr. Evans is the Founder of California Sports Lawyer® and serves as Senior Counsel at Klinedinst PC. He is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California.
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