EA Sports

Last updated

EA Sports
FormerlyElectronic Arts Sports Network (1991–1993)
Type Division
Industry Video games
Founded1991;30 years ago (1991)
Key people
Daryl Holt (COO and VP)
Parent Electronic Arts
Website easports.com

EA Sports is a division of Electronic Arts that develops and publishes sports video games. Formerly a marketing gimmick of Electronic Arts, in which they tried to imitate real-life sports networks by calling themselves the "EA Sports Network" (EASN) with pictures or endorsements with real commentators such as John Madden, it soon grew up to become a sub-label on its own, releasing game series such as FIFA , NHL , NBA Live and Madden NFL .


Most games under this brand are developed by EA Vancouver, the Electronic Arts studio in Burnaby, British Columbia as well as EA Tiburon in Maitland, Florida. The main rival to EA Sports is 2K Sports. Notably, both companies compete over the realm of NBA games, with 2K releasing the NBA 2K series. Konami is its rival in association football games with their own series, Pro Evolution Soccer .

Unlike some other sports game companies, EA Sports has no special ties to a single platform, which means that all games are released for the bestselling active platforms, sometimes long after most of the other companies abandon them. For example, FIFA 98 , Madden NFL 98 , NBA Live 98 , and NHL 98 were released for the Sega Genesis and the Super NES throughout 1997; Madden NFL 2005 and FIFA 2005 had PlayStation releases in 2004 (FIFA 2005 and Madden NFL 2005 were also the last two PlayStation titles to be released); and NCAA Football 08 had an Xbox release in 2007. Madden NFL 08 also had Xbox and GameCube releases in 2007, and was the final title released for the GameCube, with Madden NFL 09 following as the final Xbox title. Additionally, NASCAR Thunder 2003 and NASCAR Thunder 2004 were released not only for the PlayStation 2, but for the original PlayStation as well. EA Sports brand name is used to sponsor English Football League Two team Swindon Town F.C. from the 2009–10 season onward and the EA Sports Cup in the Republic of Ireland.


COO and VP Daryl Holt in 2018 Daryl Holt, Gamelab 2018 (42322570894).jpg
COO and VP Daryl Holt in 2018

Exclusivity deals

In 2002, EA purchased the license to NASCAR for six years, ending competition from Papyrus and Infogrames. They lost the NASCAR license in 2009 and the NASCAR license would be owned by Polyphony Digital for the Gran Turismo series starting with Gran Turismo 5 , and also Eutechnyx for NASCAR The Game series until its inception in 2015.

On December 13, 2004, EA Sports signed an exclusive deal with the National Football League (NFL) and its Players' Union for five years. On February 12, 2008, EA Sports announced the extension of its exclusive deal until the 2012 NFL season.

Less than a month after the NFL Exclusive deal, EA Sports signed a four-year exclusive deal with the Arena Football League (AFL).

On April 11, 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and EA Sports signed a deal to grant EA Sports the sole rights to produce college football games for six years.

EA lost the rights for Major League Baseball (MLB) games to 2K Sports in 2005, ending EA's MVP series; however, EA made NCAA Baseball games in 2006 and 2007 after losing the MLB license.

In January 2008, EA Sports decided not to renew their NCAA College Baseball license while they evaluated the status of their MVP game engine.

In 2005, EA Sports and ESPN signed a massive 15-year deal for ESPN to be integrated into EA Sports video games from 2K Sports and Sega. EA's use of the ESPN license has steadily increased over the early life of the deal. EA's early usage of the ESPN license began with ESPN Radio and a sports ticker in titles like Madden NFL, NBA Live, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and NCAA Baseball and Football. The ESPN integration now includes streaming podcasts, text articles (including content only available previously to ESPN Insider subscribers), and ESPN Motion video (including such programs as Pardon the Interruption ).

The federal district case O'Bannon v. NCAA , decided in 2014, involved the rights of college athletes to be able to control their likelinesses in downstream products from NCAA properties. The case specifically concerned EA's NCAA Basketball 09 when it was first filed in 2009, leading EA to abandon the NCAA Basketball line that year. The case was ruled in favor of the college athletes, which made licensing of these for EA's games more difficult. While EA had continued the NCAA Football series, the NCAA terminated its license agreement with EA in 2013 due to several factors, including the O'Bannon case as well as issues over comparable licensing fees to the professional sports games. [1] [2]

In 2012, EA signed a "multi-year, multi-product" partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, taking over from THQ.

Following the release of Rory McIlroy PGA Tour in 2015, EA Sports announced that they would end its PGA Tour series after 25 years, with the said game was pulled from digital storefronts in May 2018. 2K Sports announced that they would assume their licensing agreement with the PGA Tour beginning with the release of The Golf Glub 2019 featuring the PGA Tour in 2018.

The NFL, the NFL's Players' Association, and EA confirmed its exclusivity contract for NFL sports simulation games in May 2020, lasting through at the 2025–2026 NFL season with an optional one year extension. The new contract allows EA to develop NFL games outside of the typical EA Madden titles, including for mobile games. [3]

In February 2021, EA announced it was returning to college sports with a EA College Football game to be released within the next couple of years. As planned, the game will not use any player likenesses, but instead bypasses the issues with the NCAA by licensing all other branding related to college football such as team names, uniforms, and stadiums through the Collegiate Licensing Company, as at the time of the announcement, the NCAA had not yet reached definitive rules on appropriate payment to players for their likeliness. [1] If such rules are established by the time of the game's release, EA said they would then include player likenesses. However, Notre Dame stated that until such rules are in place, they declined to be part of EA's game. [4] At the time of this announcement, EA stated they had no other agreements with other NCAA sports. [1]

PC games

For the 2003 game year, and from years 2006 to 2008, EA published compilations of EA Sports titles for Windows. [5] [6] [7] [8]

In June 2009, EA Sports announced that for 2010, the games Madden NFL , NCAA Football , NASCAR , NHL , NBA Live , and Tiger Woods PGA Tour would not be shipped for PC platforms. [9] The NCAA Football series had not been released on the PC since 1998, The Tiger Woods series' last PC game was Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, the NASCAR series had not had a PC version since NASCAR SimRacing in 2005, and the last Madden series' to be released on PC was Madden NFL 08 . The NHL series' last PC game was NHL 09 . Likewise, NBA Live 08 was the final PC version for NBA Live.

The head of EA Sports at that time, Peter Moore, cited piracy and the fact that the "PC as a platform for authentic, licensed, simulation sports games has declined radically in the past three years as the next generation consoles [...] have attracted millions of consumers." [10] ]

However, FIFA series continues to be released on PC, and for the first time since 2008, Madden NFL 19 was released for Windows and Mac.

PlayStation Home

On April 23, 2009, EA Sports released the long-awaited "EA Sports Complex" space for the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, PlayStation Home in the European and North American versions. [11] In the Complex, users can play a series of mini-games, including poker, kart racing, golf, and it also features a Virtual EA Shop. There are also a number of advertisements for upcoming EA Sports games. Each mini-game that the Complex features has a reward or rewards. Heavy Water, a company dedicated to developing for Home, developed the EA Sports Complex for EA Sports.

Originally, the Complex just featured two rooms: the EA Sports Complex and the EA Sports Complex Upstairs. The EA Sports Complex featured racing and had a golfing range that was unavailable to play. The Upstairs had four poker tables that users could play at any time. With the June 18, 2009 update, the Complex's name changed to the EA Sports Racing Complex and the Upstairs changed to the EA Sports Complex Green Poker Room. [12] Other than the name change, the update took away the golfing range and added four more karts for users to play Racing at and it also added one red poker table to the poker room.

The July 2, 2009 update added golf and another poker room making four rooms for the Complex; the EA Sports Racing Complex, the EA Sports Golf Complex, the EA Sports Complex Green Poker Room, and the EA Sports Complex Red Poker Room. The Racing Complex features Racing with a total of eight karts; four on each side of the Complex. The Golf Complex features two Practice Ranges for golfing; one range on each side of the Complex. A Golf Pro-shop is coming soon for the Golf Complex. The Green Poker Room featured four green poker tables that users can play anytime. The Red Poker Room featured four red poker tables but requires users to have 2,000 points to play.

On July 16, 2009, EA Sports released another room for the Complex making five rooms for the Complex. This room is the game space for Fight Night Round 4 called "Club Fight Night" featuring a mini-game called Club DJ and coming soon, robot boxing. [13]

On July 30, 2009, EA Sports added a Black Poker Table to the EA Sports Complex Red Poker Room for the higher level players. In time, there will be a room dedicated for this table just like the Green Poker Room and the Red Poker Room. They also added a fifth green table to the Green Poker Room. The update also included the addition of the EA Sports Pro Shop where users can purchase full boxing outfits and furniture from Fight Night Round 4. The Pro Shop is found in the Racing Complex. The August 16, 2009 update replaced the fifth green table in the Green Poker Room with a red table. They also reduced the number of points for the Black Table from 20,000 to 10,000. The August 27, 2009 update separated the scoreboards for each level of play – Green, Red, and Black – and into Daily boards and Season boards (left side and right side), improved card readability, additional rail seating near the poker tables, player removal on lockup while playing poker, and player buy-in refund on removal (does not refund on Home disconnect) while playing poker.

On October 9, 2009, EA Sports released the EA Sports Complex to the Japanese version of Home. They also released NFL jerseys for every team in the league for purchase inside of the EA Sports Complex and in Home's shopping complex. EA Sports have also teamed up with the Home team to produce and distribute exclusive virtual items that serve to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 100% of proceeds for these items went go to the Brees Dream Foundation in support of breast cancer research and awareness programs. The items are black jerseys with a pink number 9 on the front and the name Brees on the back also in pink. These jerseys were available from October 15, 2009 to November 25, 2009. [14] On November 5, 2009, for those who purchased the Brees Breast Cancer jersey, they received a free DJ kit that is featured in the Club Fight Night space by entering one of the two EA Sports Complex poker rooms between November 5, 2009 and November 25, 2009. On November 25, 2009, Fight Night Round 4 producers Mike Mahar and Brian Hayes were in Home between the hours of 4:00pm and 5:00pm PT (7:00pm and 8:00pm EST), for a live chat with the PlayStation Home community in one instance of the Club Fight Night space. [15] On January 7, 2010, EA Sports released NCAA college football jerseys in the EA Sports Complex and in Home's shopping complex. [16]

On August 2, 2011, EA Sports launched the EA Sports Season Ticket subscription service. It was discontinued in 2015 and it was replaced with the similar EA Access service. [17]


Most EA Sports games are distinguished by year, as most games are released on a yearly basis. Nevertheless, as EA Sports is the leading purchaser of official licenses, it is not uncommon that in a short span several games of the same sport but with different licenses are released: FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 was shortly followed by World Cup 98, all in the wake of FIFA Soccer Manager in 1997 (as EA has owned the license for the FIFA World Cup, which happens regularly in four-year intervals, since 1998), and college football and basketball games are released that are based on Madden NFL and NBA Live, respectively.

SeriesSportFirst releaseLatest releaseUpcoming release
Madden American football John Madden Football (1988) Madden NFL 21 (2020)
NBA Live Basketball NBA Live 95 (1994) NBA Live 19 (2018)
NHL Ice hockey NHL Hockey (1991) NHL 21 (2020)
FIFA Association football FIFA International Soccer (1993) FIFA 21 (2020)
UFC Mixed martial arts EA Sports UFC (2014) EA Sports UFC 4 (2020)
EA College Football College football EA College Football (TBD)


SeriesSportFirst releaseLast release
PGA Tour Golf PGA Tour Golf (1990) Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (2015)
NCAA Football NCAA Football Bill Walsh College Football (1993) NCAA Football 14 (2013)
Mutant League Football American Football Mutant League Football (1993)
Mutant League Hockey Ice hockey Mutant League Hockey (1994)
Mario Andretti Racing Auto racing Mario Andretti Racing (1994) Andretti Racing (1996)
Australian Rugby League Rugby league Australian Rugby League (1995)
Cricket Cricket Cricket 96 (1996) Cricket 07 (2006)
Triple Play / MVP Baseball MLB Baseball Triple Play Baseball '96 (1995) MVP Baseball 2005 (2005)
NASCAR Stock car racing NASCAR 98 (1997) NASCAR 09 / NASCAR Kart Racing (2009)
AFL Australian rules football AFL 98 (1997) AFL 99 (1998)
FIFA Manager Association football management FIFA Soccer Manager (1997) FIFA Manager 14 (2013)
NCAA Basketball NCAA Basketball NCAA March Madness 98 (1998) NCAA Basketball 10 (2009)
Knockout Kings / Fight Night Boxing Knockout Kings (1998) Fight Night Champion (2011)
Superbike Superbike Superbike World Championship (1999) Superbike 2001 (2000)
Supercars Supercars V8 Challenge (2002)
SSX Snowboarding SSX (2000) SSX (2012)
F1 Formula One F1 2000 (2000) F1 Challenge '99–'02 (2003)
Rugby Rugby union Rugby (2000) Rugby 08 (2007)
NBA Street Streetball NBA Street (2001) NBA Street Homecourt (2007)
NFL Street Street football NFL Street (2004) NFL Street 3 (2006)
FIFA Street Street soccer FIFA Street (2005) FIFA Street (2012)
MVP: NCAA Baseball NCAA Baseball MVP 06: NCAA Baseball (2006) MVP 07: NCAA Baseball (2007)
Arena Football Arena football Arena Football (2006) Arena Football: Road to Glory (2007)
EA Sports Active Training EA Sports Active (2009) EA Sports Active 2 (2010)
Grand Slam Tennis Tennis Grand Slam Tennis (2009) Grand Slam Tennis 2 (2012)
MMA Mixed martial arts EA Sports MMA (2010)

Related Research Articles

Madden NFL is an American football video game series developed by EA Tiburon for EA Sports. It is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and commentator John Madden, and it has sold more than 250 million copies. It is also the only officially licensed National Football League (NFL) video game series, and it has influenced many players and coaches of the physical sport. Among the series' features are detailed playbooks and player statistics and voice commentary in the style of a real NFL television broadcast. As of 2013 the franchise has generated over $4 billion in sales.

A sports video game, also known as a sports game, is a video game genre that simulates the practice of sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including team sports, track and field, extreme sports and combat sports. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport, whilst others emphasize strategy and sport management. Some, such as Need for Speed, Arch Rivals and Punch-Out!!, satirize the sport for comic effect. This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of game series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes. Sports genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history.

NFL 2K is an American football video game series developed by Visual Concepts and published by Sega. The series was originally exclusive to Sega's Dreamcast video game console due to the absence of EA Sports's Madden NFL series on the system. As the foremost "2K" title, it marked the beginning of a running athletics series that eventually led to the spinning off of 2K's sports publishing business under the name of 2K Sports. Upon the Dreamcast's discontinuation, the series continued to be published for other sixth generation game systems and became the chief competitor of the Madden series.

The PlayStation 2 Headset is a USB headset used with the PlayStation 2. While the original headset was produced by Logitech and distributed with SOCOM, other headsets that support the usb-audio class may be compatible.

<i>NASCAR Thunder 2004</i>

NASCAR Thunder 2004 is a racing simulator by EA Sports, released in 2003 and available in separate versions for PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Windows. It features the 2002 champion Tony Stewart on the cover with a scowling look to represent the new Grudges and Alliances feature. It was the only game as of 2002 to feature the previous Winston Cup Champion on the cover. The game had the most extensive soundtrack of the series up from four songs from the previous game. The game also has a career mode, season mode, Lightning Challenge mode, SpeedZone, as well as a tutorial mode featuring Richard Petty. The game is an EA Sports Bio game, and is compatible with other EA Sports Bio games like Madden NFL 2004 and NCAA Football 2004. A Nintendo GameCube port was planned but was cancelled for unknown reasons.

The Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Series has been awarded since 1976. Unlike the award for Outstanding Live Sports Special, this award is given to networks for a weekly series in which a specific sport is televised live.

HB Studios

HB Studios is a Canadian video game developer founded in 2000 and located in Nova Scotia, Canada. They are best known for their rugby and cricket games, published by EA Sports, and more recently The Golf Club games with PGA Tour 2K21 as the latest installment.

NCAA Football is an American football video game series developed by EA Sports in which players control and compete against current Division I FBS college teams. It served as a college football counterpart to the Madden NFL series. The series began in 1993 with the release of Bill Walsh College Football. EA eventually acquired the licensing rights to the NCAA name and officially rechristened the series with the release of NCAA Football 98.

EA Tiburon

EA Tiburon is an Electronic Arts video game development studio located in Maitland, Florida, United States founded in 1994. It was formerly known as Tiburon Entertainment, which was acquired by EA in 1998. EA had already purchased a minority equity interest in Tiburon in May 1996, the terms of which included that Tiburon would develop games exclusively for EA.

Global VR

Global VR is company based in San Jose, California, that makes arcade games. The company once manufactured virtual reality stands as well. It has also developed electronic kiosks and offers development services for mobile platforms.

<i>Madden NFL 09</i>

Madden NFL 09 is an American football video game based on the NFL that was published by EA Sports and developed by EA Tiburon. It is the 20th annual installment in the Madden NFL video game franchise. The game was released for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, and mobile phones. It was the last video game for the Xbox produced and released in North America and the last Madden game released for the Nintendo DS. A GameCube version was planned, but it was cancelled due to the system's discontinuation in the previous year 2007.

The 27th Sports Emmy Awards honoring American sports coverage in 2005 were presented on May 1, 2006 at Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City. The nominees were announced on March 29.

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In the United States, sports are televised on various broadcast networks, national and specialty sports cable channels, and regional sports networks. U.S. sports rights are estimated to be worth a total of $22.42 billion in 2019, about 44 percent of the total worldwide sports media market. U.S. networks are willing to pay a significant amount of money for TV sports contracts because it attracts large amounts of viewership; live sport broadcasts accounted for 44 of the 50 list of most watched television broadcasts in the United States in 2016.

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