EA Retains Rights to NHL and UFC Licenses in New Deals

EA Retains Rights to NHL and UFC Licenses in New Deals

More hockey and more MMA are on the way.

This year, two EA Sports series are sitting out the early leap to next-gen: 2020's licensed releases for the National Hockey League (NHL) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) are only coming to current-gen systems. It may not be that long until we see more from both franchises though, as today both the NHL and UFC have announced extensions to their licensing agreements with EA.

Compared to the information about this year's earlier Madden NFL extension to 2025, details on these renewed deals with the NHL and UFC are pretty slim. Both are multi-year arrangements—in the case of the latter, EA and UFC are looking to expand to "more forms of play and self-expression, available on more platforms, including expanded future offerings for mobile players." Next-gen platforms are not explicitly mentioned by name in EA's press releases.

These renewals come at a moment that sees the UFC series attempting to regain its footing while NHL 21 ends the current generation with troubling legacy issues. This August's launch of UFC 4 came after a break in annualized releases in 2019, time that EA Sports took to try and rework the series to be more accessible to its "more casual fandom." With NHL, EA's also making a nostalgia play with the release of NHL 94 Rewind as an NHL 21 pre-order bonus.

Meanwhile, FIFA and Madden are making their way to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S this year. While EA does need to watch out for new competition from 2K Sports now that it's able to make non-simulation NFL games, Madden football and "proper" football still lead the EA Sports pack.

Madden and FIFA aside, EA is also taking a somewhat conservative early approach to next-gen with titles like Star Wars: Squadrons and Apex Legends. There's still no guarantee that UFC and NHL will go next-gen as of next year, but if they do they won't be too far behind other EA staples.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

In other news

The Last of Us Part 2 and Hades Lead 2020's Game Awards Nominees

Supergiant and Naughty Dog have racked up the nods at this year's Keighley-tastic show.

EA Makes Billions From Its Prevent Defense on Loot Boxes

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Don't worry, there's PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S stuff in here too

Former WWE 2K Developers Yuke's Are Now Working on an AEW Game

WWF No Mercy director Hideyuki Iwashita is also working on the project.

Sony Reportedly Discussed Raising Game Prices Above $70

It's not a new standard just yet, but that $70 Demon's Souls could've cost more.

Need help?

FIFA 20 Best Young Players: Hidden Gems and Wonderkids With High Potential

Here’s a list of the players that have the most to gain in overall rating.

Madden 20 Face of the Franchise Tips - Teams, How to Get Drafted, and More

Here's our walkthrough for Madden 20's Face of the Franchise mode, featuring all the NFL teams, how to get drafted, and more.

All the Best Madden 20 Offensive Money Plays

Here's our guide compiling all the best Madden 20 money plays in one place, so you know which run or pass play to call whenever.

Madden 20: The Best Offensive Playbooks to Use

This is our walkthrough of the best Madden 20 offensive playbooks you can always rely on.