In a move that was expected when the announcement of a vote was first made last week, the NFL owners have unanimously voted to extend the league’s partnership with EA Sports and the Madden NFL franchise by five years.

The extension, which now runs through 2025, will keep EA Sports as the exclusive simulation rights holder for NFL video games until Madden NFL 26, at least.

The deal, according to Darren Rovell of the Action Network, will be worth a minimum of $1 billion to the NFL and its teams while the players will receive $500 million. There are also over $500 million in marketing commitments on the table for the series.

With this new deal, not only will the company still hold exclusive simulation rights, but they will also continue to have non-exclusive rights for arcade-style games as well as casual and mobile games.

The extension features an option to extend the deal beyond the 2025 season should the series continue to “meet certain revenue goals” year over year. That seems like a formality due to the sheer popularity of the game’s Ultimate Team mode that pulls in billions in revenue each year.

What this means for 2K

Back in March, it was announced that the NFL and 2K Sports had once again agreed to work together for the first time in 16 years. With the multiyear deal, 2K will produce non-simulation games for the league starting in 2021.

There had been hope, however, that the agreement would be amended at the end of the 2021 NFL season should EA Sports not retain exclusive simulation rights. 2K Sports had made it known its interest in reacquiring simulation rights in the future, but, for now, arcade-style games will be the only titles coming from the studio with licensing to be revisited in five-to-six years.

That first game is expected to be a Playgrounds-style game for the NFL, but that has yet to be confirmed by any party.


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