EA has announced that the FIFA series will officially change its name to EA Sports FC after this year’s FIFA 23, ending what will be an almost three-decade partnership with football’s governing body.
Announced in a blog post, EA Sports said the name change would take place after the next FIFA game, with more information coming about the first EA Sports FC in July 2023. “This new independent platform will bring fresh opportunity – to innovate, create and evolve,” reads a message from Group GM of EA Sports, Cam Weber.
Weber made clear that despite dropping the name license, EA Sports FC will keep FIFA’s league, club and player licenses, including “19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues”. EA included a number of messages of support for the move from the English Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, European football organization UEFA, and more. FIFA itself has not released a statement at time of writing.
Speaking to the BBC, EA Sports vice president David Jackson explained what wouldn’t be in EA Sports FC: “In terms of things that they’ll miss, players will notice only two things: The name and a World Cup piece of content every four years. Outside of that, very little will change about the things they know, and love about the current FIFA products.”
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Weber also promised to “expand to new authentic experiences that bring joy, inclusivity and immersion to a global community of fans.” More details will be announced on that “in the coming months.”
The next and final FIFA will include “more features, game modes, World Cup content, clubs, leagues, competitions, and players than any FIFA title before”, and Weber says EA Sports FC will receive more information in July 2023.
EA had previously said it was exploring the idea of renaming the series, and went onto trademark the EA Sports FC name, but this is the first time it’s been officially confirmed. Previous reports have suggested that FIFA wants to charge EA $1 billion every four years to use the name.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson has reportedly said that the only value the FIFA name offers EA outside of a World Cup year is the “four letters on the front of the box.” He apparently added, “I would argue – and this may be a little biased – that the FIFA brand has more meaning as a video game than it does a governing body of soccer.”
FIFA is the international governing body for association football, but has been mired in controversy for many years, including major corruption scandals. It’s not clear whether FIFA will grant its license to other companies following the move.
The FIFA series is one of the most successful gaming franchises on Earth, both in terms of sales and after-sale revenue – it will be fascinating to see if a change in brand name affects that in future.