Electronic Arts, NFL Unveil Multiyear Partnership for Games in New Genres

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Under the new agreement, the 'Madden NFL' franchise will exclusively create simulation football games and the organizations will expand esports experiences.

Electronic Arts, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association on Thursday unveiled a multiyear renewal to their global partnership.

Under the new agreement, the Madden NFL video game franchise will exclusively create football simulation sports games, while EA Sports, the NFL and the NFLPA will develop games in new genres and expanded esports experiences.

Released last August, Madden NFL 20 is the most successful game in the history of the Madden series — the best-selling sports franchise in the U.S. Unique players of the title grew by 30 percent year-over-year, while amid the coronavirus-related lockdown in April, player levels nearly doubled from last year. Meanwhile, Madden NFL esports is continuing to thrive, broadcasting on ESPN to tens of millions of viewers.

"Building on the most successful year ever for Madden NFL, this is a powerful time for EA SPORTS to come together with the NFL and the NFLPA in this new wide-reaching partnership," Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, said in a statement. "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."

"EA has been a trusted partner for more than thirty years and they continue to bring innovation, authenticity and creativity to everything they do and we are certainly a great example of that as evidenced by the huge success of Madden NFL 20," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "The expansion of this partnership is not only about the continued success of the Madden NFL franchise but also the creation of new avenues for our fans to connect with the sport they love."

Under the partnership, the organizations will also explore new ways for football fans to connect on a wide range of platforms, including expanded mobile gaming experiences and games that offer more forms of play. Competitive programs in esports will continue to grow, and a focus on the design and visualization of gaming products will be emphasized overall. 

The renewal marks the largest gaming agreement in NFL history.