01:24 PM - July 17, 2013 by FloorGeneral
The NCAA has decided today, unilaterally it appears, to not renew their license with EA Sports for the NCAA Football video game beginning next year.
In the statement, the NCAA said, "The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA."
EA should still be able to work out individual school, conference, awards, etc. licenses from the CLC -- which should mean the series should be able to live on. At the end of the day, this is the NCAA taking it's name and logo off of the game, but nothing more it appears. So while the series can't be called "NCAA Football" anymore, perhaps with the ESPN license the series can be called "EA Sports College Gameday 15" next season.
The only way this ends the NCAA Football series altogether is if one of two further scenarios happen: 1)If EA Sports decides it is done with the series altogether, which is doubtful given it's a top seller in the US. 2)If the CLC won't play ball with EA Sports, and thus EA has to negotiate licenses individually from member institutions
It is possible EA Sports will not continue development of the game after this year because of either reason, or because of fears of financial fallout from the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit. However, there is no guarantee EA will face huge financial problems from the O'Bannon lawsuit, and in a sense -- the threat of the O'Bannon lawsuit ending the series is the same today as it was yesterday.
I EA wants to they can continue the game with purely cosmetic changes and greater creative freedom without the NCAA hovering above the game. And let's face it, the less the NCAA is involved in anything, the better it will be.
So in a sense, the only thing different today versus yesterday with regards to the NCAA Football series is that it is no longer the NCAA Football series going forward. Everything thing else remains the same.
UPDATE: Brett McMurphy of ESPN is reporting ESPN has been told EA Sports will still have a college football video game beyond 2014, next year's game will be called College Football 15.
UPDATE #2: According to ESPN's Sports Business reporter Darren Rovell the CLC, which handles school, bowl, awards, etc. licensing, says it plans to work with EA in the future despite the NCAA dropping out.
UPDATE #3: EA Sports Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson speaks. In a statement, Wilson said, "EA SPORTS will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks. Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.
We took big creative strides with this year's college game and you’ll see much more in the future. We love college football and look forward to making more games for our fans."