NFL, 2K Reach Licensing Agreement

One of the most hoped-for relationships in video games is back

According to ESPN, the league and 2K have reached a multiyear production agreement to bring NFL video games back under the 2K umbrella for the first time since 2004.

“As more people play more games than ever before, we have been increasing our efforts and looking to expand our footprint in the space,” Rachel Hoagland, Vice President and Head of Gaming and Esports at the NFL, told ESPN. “It just seemed to make sense as a natural step in that direction to revive our partnership with 2K.”

The return of that partnership, Hoagland said, has been discussed for years dating back to the end of the original NFL 2K series, which saw its last release ESPN NFL 2K5 become praised as one of the best football games — and even video games — of all time.

Under the multiyear, multigame agreement, 2K will release “non-simulation” football games. 2K Sr. VP of Sports Strategy and Licensing Jason Argent said that the games will be “a deep, fun and very authentic product offering. They’re not (a) very traditional simulation product”.

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t necessarily mean the NFL 2K everyone has been hoping for is coming back. EA owns the NFL’s simulation video game rights until the end of the 2021 season. And though 2K has made it known they’d like to reacquire those rights, nothing is certain when it comes to the return of the true NFL 2K Franchise.

For now, it’s much more likely we see a game along the lines of an NBA Playgrounds-like game to start. Once 2K acquired the NBA Playgrounds IP back in 2018, it quickly came out that 2K wanted to branch the series out into other sports.

There have been no other details regarding what the first game under this partnership will entail, but both Hoagland and Argent said that overlay gameplay is the biggest priority.

For more on the new partnership between the NFL and 2K, stick with sports gamers online.