The National Football League and the NFL Players Association have announced a multi-year renewal of their partnership with Electronic Arts today. Madden NFL will remain the exclusive football simulation of the NFL.
In a press release, EA says Madden NFL 20 has been "the most successful game in franchise history." Through unique players, game playtime, and Madden NFL esports competitions broadcast on mainstream sports networks like ESPN, it's certainly had a notable year.
It also sounds like EA is also looking to explore new horizons. "Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to entertain more players through new Madden NFL experiences, games in new genres and on new platforms, esports, and new innovations that will grow fans' love of the NFL around the world," said Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson.
The press release later notes that these new genres, with "more forms of play and self-expression," would be available on more platforms including expanded offerings on mobile. EA already develops a Madden NFL Mobile. Esports content will also grow with increased programs and broadcast content.
This confirms earlier reports that Madden would remain the exclusive partner for simulation football for at least the next few years, though the timeframe is fuzzy. Polygon reports that the new contract runs for six years starting today, which would take it out to May 2026, though The MMQB's Albert Breer reports that last year might have revenue targets attached to it.
2K announced in March that it had inked a partnership deal with the NFL. That deal will span several games and be centered on "fun, approachable and social experiences," according to a statement from 2K president David Ismailer. EA issued a statement on the partnership, saying that its agreements "have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms."
While Madden NFL remains at EA, it still seems like football games in general could be in for a shake-up, which seems a little overdue. It's been years since the days of Blitz, and the more competition, the better. EA, meanwhile, will be revealing another look at what's next for Madden NFL on June 1, ahead of its digital EA Play conference scheduled for June 11.