EA Sports Giving Up NCAA Exclusivity

EA has controlled NFL, NCAA, and AFL football licenses for years now, but this to a lawsuit they are going to have to give up the NCAA exclusive rights.

Here is what that means to you the consumer.

Last week, Electronic Arts reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuitbrought against it for anticompetitive behavior in scooping up exclusive gaming rights to the NFL, NCAA, and AFL football licenses. Under the terms of the agreement, the publisher will let its current deal with

In theory, the settlement brings to an end EA’s vice-like grip on American football games, allowing someone else to make a competing NCAA title and create the sort of rivalry that leads to innovation. In reality, it’s more likely to underscore just how entrenched EA’s position is.

Assuming the settlement is finalized and other companies are able to make NCAA Football games starting in 2015, the big question becomes, “Who would?” EA will still make college football games, so whoever jumps into the fray would be going up against an established heavyweight.

Take-Two is the obvious choice to step up, considering it was the publisher’s aggressively priced and critically acclaimed NFL 2K5 that prompted EA to lock down football exclusivity in the first place. However, the company may have lost its taste for competing with EA. Take-Two has come to regret the MLB third-party exclusivity deal it signed in the wake of EA’s NFL and NCAA deals, and it put NHL 2K on ice in 2011 after years of playing a punching bag to EA’s NHL series. In fact, the only good news 2K Sports has had of late has been the success of the NBA 2K series since 2010, the same year EA benched its own NBA series. And don’t think Take-Two would be able to jump right back in the saddle and toss off a worthy follow-up to NFL 2K5 on a lark. The company showed a tremendous amount of faith in its ability to do just that in 2007 with All-Pro Football 2K8. But the game, which features retired greats instead of current players and teams, met with sluggish sales and a lukewarm critical response, never spawning a second installment.

So short version is why other companies could get into the market, don’t expect them to.

the NCAA lapse in 2014, and won’t seek an exclusive arrangement with the league for at least five years after that.