Just last week, I mentioned that Tecmo Super Bowl was the first football video game to use NFL and NFL Players Association licenses, allowing them use real team and player names. Now it looks like they won’t get the chance to do that again. ESPN’s Darren Rovell is reporting that EA Sports has obtained exclusive rights to the NFL and NFLPA licenses for the next five years.
Madden, of course, has dominated football video games for the last decade or so. 989 Sports, Midway and Microsoft already dropped their NFL games before this season, and with the EA Sports-NFL deal, Sega and Take-Two Interactive will not be allowed to make ESPN NFL 2K6. Considering the highly positive reviews NFL 2K5 got, I’m a little surprised the NFL decided to give EA Sports such exclusivity.
Sports games are big money, though, and with Madden being as close to a household name as any video game on the market, I’m not surprised EA spent as much as it did to secure its place as the NFL game. Chargers TE Antonio Gates told Sports Illustrated that playing Madden helped him figure out opposing defenses. You can’t buy a better advertisement than that, can you? (After that quote, I will bet anyone that Gates will be on the Madden 2006 cover.)
The flip side to this deal? Maybe I’ll finally get that Cyberball redux I’ve been wanting for the last decade or so…