T he NCAA football video game from EA Sports will no longer be produced bearing the NCAA license, according to an announcement from the NCAA. The NCAA’s contract with EA expires June 2014 and this means the NCAA Football 2014 game will be the last produced using the NCAA name and logo.
What this means for the entire game is probably not much, as the NCAA release noted that the individual member institutions license their respective trademarks for the game.
According to the NCAA, “Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.”
It seems many people believe the NCAA license is not what sells the game. Rather, it is the local license.
According to a tweet from a Texas A&M official, “Who says that college football game is dead without the NCAA? No one buys the game because of their brand.”
Many of these license agreements are handled through IMG College’s Collegiate Licensing Company.
The NCAA cited the “current business climate and costs of litigation” as reasons it ended its partnership with EA Sports and why NCAA Football 2014 will be the last.
However, the NCAA made sure to defend its legal position.
“We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games,” the NCAA said in its statement.
The NCAA went further to defend its position.
“The NCAA has never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA. The NCAA has no involvement in licenses between EA and former student-athletes. Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.”
Here is the NCAA’s press release: NCAA will not renew EA Sports contract
I’ve reached out to EA Sports for comment, and if they respond will update with their comment. UPDATE: EA Sports published a statement on its website. According to the statement, “EA SPORTS will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks. Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.”