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ESPN And Electronic Arts Sign 15-Year Deal 332

acxr is wasted writes "Electronic Arts has dealt another blow to rival Sega by signing a 15-year agreement with ESPN, giving the publisher exclusive video game rights to ESPN branded material. EA has recently faced pressure from popular ESPN-branded Sega titles released at discount prices, prompting their recent deal with the NFL, and failed bid for the NBA."
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ESPN And Electronic Arts Sign 15-Year Deal

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  • Ehh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damicatz ( 711271 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:50PM (#11390773)
    Sounds like they are using Microsoft-esque tatics now. How long will it be before the DOJ gets on their case? Oh well, this doesn't change my stance on EA. They haven't produced a decent game in over 5 years.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DrKyle ( 818035 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:51PM (#11390776)
    Okay, I'm not a sports fan, but why can't they just make games that don't have actual player names or teams and just make a "fantasy league" and bypass any need for licencing? Is it really that much better of a game when it has the ESPN name on it?
  • FTA: "'We don't anticipating changing anything significantly from what we are currently doing'... they will potentially include ESPN data, graphics and sportscasters" [Emphasis mine]

    Now cmon, if you plan to contract one of the largest names in sports news, then at least integrate it into the game. The only reason EA is buying the ESPN license apparently to use "ESPN properties as potential video games, including the "X Games" extreme athletics competitions, poker and even bass fishing."

    Wow, cause I want to spend 50 dollars on ESPN World Poker Tour $year.
  • by Zeromous ( 668365 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:57PM (#11390833) Homepage
    Despite what many have said, this may not be such a bad thing.

    I mean now with Blitz free to do what they want, and a niche market opening up- I'm excited about sports games for once!

    It's really too bad there will likely be no 30$ ESPN Football or hockey again, but for each on of those, there will be an outlaw golf, or baseball stars.

    These unlicensed games have been missing from 'popular' libraries for years. I see this as only opening up a market for the smaller, savvy developer/publisher.
  • What About Madden? (Score:-1, Interesting)

    by illuminata ( 668963 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:58PM (#11390846) Journal
    From the article: "At least in the short term, Madden's name will stay on the pro football game, rather than being replaced by ESPN or another brand."

    I think it would be kind of silly for them to ink a deal with ESPN but not with Madden's current employer ABC. Hell, they're owned by the same parent company (Disney) and Monday Night Football (and ABC show, of course) has already dabbled in the video game market.

    I'd expect it of EA to make sure that they had the rights to use of the ABC properties as well, although it will be interesting to see if they somehow incorporate ESPN Sunday Night Football into the Madden franchise.
  • Re:15 years?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:05PM (#11390893) Journal
    Don't bother explaining. Typical slashdot user - I suppose it's easy to dismiss claims of trademarks and IP when you produce nothing.

    Hell yeah - straight to -1 flame bait for me baby!

  • Unholy Trinity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:14PM (#11390959) Homepage Journal

    Not only that, but The Walt Disney Company owns ESPN. If you'll remember, Disney was behind the copyright term extension acts []. This makes an Unholy Trinity of Disney, EA, and Microsoft (whose MSN network hosts ESPN's web site).

  • Here is an idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yorkpaddy ( 830859 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:24PM (#11391023)
    If I were sega, I would design a football game that lets users plug in team data. Make everything like the NFL except for uniforms, logos, and names. Then have some anonymous person on the internet post a mod pack that exactly replicates the protected NFL data. Make it very easy for consumers to plug in this data pack.
  • Re:15 years?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:16PM (#11391379) Homepage Journal
    And this is the problem with America's legal system. EA bought the rights to the players' names. What? You can buy and sell NAMES now? Is the phone book committing trademark infringement by daring to list NFL players?

    Rights to the stadiums? Can I take a picture of a football field and make money, or is that illegal now? No more pictures of skylines... we will have to blur out all non-public property. (Like they do on TV. Every time I watch TV now I feel like I need new glasses because everything recognizable is blurred out. Apparently taking a picture of an object is illegal now...)

    Anyway, this is illegal on the part of the NFL. Just because they have a lot of money doesn't make it right.

    Joe Montana. Bret Farve. Whoever the fuck else plays football.

    Hah. I'm a criminal.
  • by TSage ( 702439 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @12:50AM (#11392271)
    Sorry, but I'm not buying this.

    They are doing sports games right now, but how long till they start moving in on your company of choice? They already made an initial attempt at Ubisoft, and they are buying licenses from Nintendo. Who is going to be next on the list?

    OK, they went after Ubisoft and that was stopped. And how dare they buy licenses from Nintendo!! That obviously means EA will soon be buying Nintendo. Watch out Sony, you're next. Or so the implication goes. I mean somehow a company with a market capitalization of under $19 billion will be dominating an industry full of giants (another giant, FOX, will possibly soon be getting into). That would be some amazing business feats to accomplish.

    Now assuming they get all this market share, we should be wary because they will oppress the market to such a degree that you will feel their presence in every video game played. And if the largest publisher were to raise prices to $60 per game, obviously the smaller companies who are trying to compete with the juggernaut would follow suit. Much like Apple and Linux companies are selling their operating systems for the same price that MS does. And how Sega had to cut their videogames to $20 in order to match EA's own $20 pricing scheme.

    I believe most companies stated goal is to be the best firm in their given field (and now fields). This should be made headline news so people realize this immmediately! They must be stopped before they are allowed to commit egregious crimes that we cannot even think of yet!

    Meanwhile everyone on Slashdot mentions how most of their games are crap and don't buy them. If all their new NFL games are crap, well good luck to them; maybe they'll find a way to get water from a rock. I think videogame consumers generally don't respond with lots of money for junk games. Look at the community's latest rage over WOW despite heralding it as one of the best games of last year.

    I see why you are concerned, but I don't think it's anything to really worry about long term. There will be at least three much larger players involved for at least the next generation of consoles (Sony, Nintendo, MS) that have a larger impact on the industry.

  • Re:Here is an idea (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @04:09AM (#11393047)
    agreed. All the next gen consoles will have internet support. What they need to do is allow these sport games to be moddable. There is still hope. Modding will/can be the savior.

    Midway hired that guy from the canceled ESPN show play makers. So they may make a football game where you can power up on steroids and other performance enhancers, all while trying to avoid the piss man. Couple this with a moddable game and it'll provide a more interesting and original game concept, one that EA cannot do. EA is tied into a deal with the NFL...they can only change the gfx and rules and control aspects while other companies will be flexible because they aren't tied to the NFL.
  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @08:00AM (#11393786)
    The biggest football league, the UEFA Champions League, witnessed by billions around the globe, is the single most important event in the world of football each year. SEGA can easily grab that licence, and release a football game based on that. If coupled with Virtua Striker graphics, it could not be anything else than a winner.

    And along with the UEFA CL, goes the FIFA World Cup.
  • Re:Gutless (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rhone ( 220519 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @08:14AM (#11393839) Homepage
    I've been boycotting CDs (no, I don't use Kazaa either) because of the ridiculous prices for many years now, and the prices haven't gone down. Actually, CDs are MORE expensive now than before I started boycotting.

    I avoided paying to see movies in the theatres for years too, but that doesn't seem to have changed anything either.

    Likewise, I can boycott Madden football games, ESPN, and the NFL. I completely agree with you that we have the choice to do this.

    However, any support I could conceivably get for my boycott would just be a drop in the bucket, so let's be honest about the result: Me, or any other Slashdotter (most Slashdotters hate sports games anyway, so this is kinda moot) boycotting EA, the NFL, and ESPN doesn't mean that those companies are going to change their policies. It just means that I'll never be watching football or playing football video games again.

VMS must die!