The FIFA games have lost yet another top-tier Italian soccer team. On Wednesday, Konami announced a long-term exclusivity deal with Atalanta B.C. for its eFootball PES series.
As an “official video game partner,” Konami secures exclusive rights to Atalanta’s team name, crest, and kits, starting with the 2021-22 season. Meaning, FIFA 22 will not be able to use any official Atalanta branding. However, EA still has the ability to include the team’s real players and their likenesses.
“We are extremely delighted to announce the partnership with Konami,” said Atalanta B.C. CEO, Luca Percassi, in a statement. “Konami is an international brand that needs no introduction. It represents another important moment of growth for Atalanta.”
This marks the fourth Italian team that FIFA has lost. In 2019, PES secured an exclusive license with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus. Then, last year, Konami reached an agreement with AS Roma. And just last month, the PES publisher nabbed the rights for Napoli. Although, the latter doesn’t go into effect until the 2022-23 season.
These exclusive agreements force EA Sports to have to rename the clubs and give them a generic kit and badge.
That said, EA likely isn’t losing too much sleep over this partnership, despite Atalanta establishing itself as a power in Italy. The multi-billion dollar company still has a vice-grip on most of the world’s biggest clubs and leagues, namely the English Premier League.