It seems much longer than six years since Electronic Arts (EA) Sports released the last college football video game to our computer screens. NCAA Football was one of the most popular sports-themed video games across the U.S. It ranked only behind the FIFA soccer title and Madden NFL title as the leading EA Sports game. So, it was with great regret when EA Sports announced that NCAA Football 14 would be the last of its tributes to America’s awe-inspiring college football.
As the years tick by, the gap in the market left by NCAA Football is felt more than ever by college football fans nationwide. So, it’s exciting to hear that EA Sports is open to the prospect of releasing a sequel. In a recent email exchange between 247Sports and the former executive producer of NCAA Football at EA Sports Ben Haumiller, the latter intimated for the first time that EA Sports “loved” developing and releasing NCAA Football 14 and would be “very interested” in moving back “into that space” if the legal climate was such that a college football game was possible again.
The reason that a repeat of NCAA Football 14 never followed was because of a string of lawsuits filed by the NCAA over player likenesses. Following court proceedings, EA Sports had to pay $60 million in settlements to college footballers featured in NCAA Football between the years of 2003 and 2014. That was because EA Sports had not received prior permission to use the players and their likenesses within the game.
NCAA Sets Up an Athlete Imaging Rights Working Group
However, there have been murmurings that the legal climate could change. The NCAA rules state that college athletes currently have no legal right to make money from their image or name. Were the NCAA to legalize this, it would leave the door ajar for EA Sports to develop a new version of NCAA Football and adequately compensate the superstars of college football in the process.
The Love for College Football is Bigger Than Ever in the U.S.
There is no doubt that college football is alive and kicking today as much as it was in 2014. The Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide have been on the lips of football fans around the U.S. and have helped redefine what it means to be a successful college football team. Both the Tigers and the Crimson Tide once again are the leading candidates for the 2020 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, according to Oddschecker’s latest prices.
While the NCAA’s new rules on imaging rights for college athletes could boost the hopes for NCAA Football video games, it could also have a knock-on impact on other college sports, especially if EA Sports recognizes a gap in the market for a men’s or women’s college basketball game.