NCAA College

NCAA College
NCAA College
  • NCAA College Football 13 was last major entry in the series
  • Legal dispute led to hibernation
  • EA committed to opt-in framework

A settlement between two major collegiate sports licensing firms has removed a major obstacle to video game giant EA Sports’ plans to revive its dormant college football series.

The Brandr Group (TBG), which has the rights to negotiate group licensing deals for 54 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools set to be included in the game, had argued that EA’s ‘opt-in’ licensing framework for players is an attempt to circumvent these contracts.

EA had been working with OneTeam Partners on a deal that would see players given US$500 for their name, image and likeness (NIL) to be include in the game, and no royalties.

TBG had said the offer not only attempted to exclude it from negotiations, but it was also below fair market value and could prevent athletes from other more lucrative opportunities in the future. However, the two sides have no reached an ‘amicable settlement’ that also sees TBG withdraw its lawsuit against EA Sports without prejudice.

‘This understanding reinforces their shared vision and commitment toward ensuring the protection and maximisation of the NIL value of all collegiate athletes,’ said a joint statement.

‘In the wake of this settlement, the parties have agreed to adopt a model that both complements their respective core businesses while separating and operating as completely independent companies. The Brandr Group and OneTeam Partners have chosen to take this path in the best interest of their organisations, their stakeholders, and most importantly, due to a shared dedication to protecting and promoting the welfare and future prospects of all college athletes. Both organisations firmly believe in the importance of maximising the value and opportunities available to athletes in the collegiate marketplace.

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‘OneTeam Partners and The Brandr Group will collaborate on future initiatives that benefit athletes and support them throughout their athletic careers. To that end, leaders from both organisations emphasise their unified mission: to foster an environment where collegiate athletes’ rights and values are at the forefront of every business opportunity.’

EA had already confirmed that College Football would not be appearing on modern consoles until at least 2024 in order to give it as much time as possible to bring the game to market. In a statement, it said development was on track for a release next summer.

‘We are pleased that Brandr has decided to withdraw their claims without any payment from EA,’ said EA Sports. ‘We’ve been clear from the beginning that this suit had no merit. Our focus continues to be on directly licensing individual college athlete name and likeness rights through an opt-in programme that will give college athletes the choice if they want to be in our game. We’re pleased to move on from these claims and look forward to delivering EA Sports College Football in Summer 2024.’

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