Back in 2021, EA announced the return of College Football to the adulation of many. EA Sports College Football was initially aiming to release in the summer of this year, but EA delayed the game late November of 2022. Despite several potential setbacks, a recent interview On3 reveals the game is still on track to release during the summer of 2024.
EA Sports College Football Remains on Track for Summer 2024 Release
Shortly following the initial delay, EA reported the new release date to be in the Summer of 2024. Since then, most things about the game were relatively quiet. However, while development progressed, reports begin circulating claiming EA was running into licensing issues. For those who do not know, this was the original issue that saw the series shelved following NCAA 14.
Despite the reports, an EA spokesperson informed On3 EA Sports is moving forward with its plans for a release next summer.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring back an authentic college football experience for fans and athletes that have shown such passion for the franchise, and we’re looking forward to delivering it in Summer 2024”
The statement, as well as the game’s intended launch window, comes in the light of litigation and continued licensing quarrels. In an earnings call, EA CEO, Andrew Wilson, spoke on the progress being made on EA Sports College Football saying-
Gameplay is really coming together, and really capturing all the action of pageantry, and the difference in college football versus the NFL. I feel really confident in what the team’s doing.
Progress on the game was reported to be steady and laying a solid foundation for the future. However, Wilson admitted there was still work to be done on the authenticity front, meaning licensing. In addition, college athletes were encouraged to boycott inclusion in the game. According to a report over at on3, the agreement between the two entities includes a cash pool rather than payment on an individual basis. Additionally, there appear to be no royalties included for players. And while the cash pool is said to be $5 million, this would be about $500 per player. This is barely a fraction of the earnings made by NFL players. The boycott action called for athletes to not allow their likenesses to be used until a better deal could be struck.
Finally, there was the litigation. The Brandr Group, a company contracted by universities to handle licensing agreements for the schools and their athlete’s NIL, filed the lawsuit June 20.
The Brandr Group and EA were in contact multiple times over the last few years. The two entities discussed EA offering NIL deals to athletes for the use of their likenesses. EA said in an email that deals with athletes at schools partnered with The Brandr Group would be done through The Brandr Group. However, EA partnered with One Team Partners earlier this year to complete these deals and began offering players $500 to opt into being included in the game. The lawsuit claimed EA attempted to “circumvent” the agreements The Brandr Group currently had with its partner schools as well as described EA asking athletes to opt in without The Brandr Group as “tortious interference.”
A few of these issue remains up in the air as far as results go. Nonetheless, EA says the game is on track for release. It will be interesting to see how far EA Sports College Football despite the setbacks as well as what precedent is set for compensating college athletes.
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