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Ea’s Nfl Exclusivity Might Be A Thing Of The Past


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I came across this bit of news and I thought I would share it with everyone here because if there is any chance that this can happen, we have to follow it. It seems as there is a lawsuit filed that is claiming that EA's exclusive rights for NFL Football is illegal. I will post the link and the article right here so you can see exactly what I mean.

EA’s NFL exclusivity might be a thing of the past

BY Matthew Razak Mar. 5th, 2009

The day EA signed a contract with the NFL for Madden to be the only NFL sanctioned football game was a sad day for gamers everywhere. While the Madden franchise hasn’t disappointed too much over the years that it has truly been the only game in town, it still cuts back on the variety and choice of games one can pick-up that involve the NFL. Plus, some of us just randomly hate Madden and would really like to have the option to play something else. I’m not naming names here, but let us just say his first name is M_tthew and his last name is _azak.

Well now Mr. _azak finally has some hope that he can once again enjoy the NFL outside of EA’s grasp. GamePolitics is reporting that a new case in the supreme court may make EA’s exclusive NFL rights illegal. The case is American Needle vs. New Orleans Saints, et al. and should the court side with American Needle it would put EA (and Take-Two, who has exclusive third-party rights to MLB) in violation of federal antitrust statutes. In layman’s terms it means they would be seen as attempting to make a monopoly, which, outside of board games, is very illegal.

A blog that follows the supreme court called SCOTUSblog, lays it out for us: The NFL used to license American Needle to sell hats that bore the logos, the names or other insignia of pro football teams… But, in 2000, the NFL opted to solicit bids for an exclusive license to produce caps and other headwear. Reebok won the bidding, and in 2001 got an exclusive ten-year license. American Needle’s license was not renewed. So it sued the NFL, all of its teams, NFL Properties, and Reebok. American Needle’s case was thrown out by lower courts… “The [supreme] Court has stated, on more than one occasion,” American Needle asserted, “that application of the Sherman Act to professional sports teams is wholly consistent with Congressional intent…”

This is basically what happened to 2K Sports when EA signed its exclusivity deal with the NFL. Thus if it is illegal for the NFL to do it with clothing than it is illegal for them to do it with games too. GamePolotics also reports that this case has been brought up multiple times in the class-action lawsuit Pecover vs. Electronic Arts. So this case is definitely on EA’s radar.

LINK TO ARTICLE

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We have been saying this since the Madden take over of the NFL video gaming industry by EASports. It was illegal from the start, and they are just now finding this out? We here at mods had numerous discussions about this, and most of it was pretty in depth.

I for one, was a huge ESPN football fanatic...thought it was presented way better than Madden ever was...it was only a year or two away from supreme dominance. I hope it comes back.

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Does that also make 2K's deal with MLB moot?

Obviously if exclusivity ended it would be great for sports gamers. We all know about MVP but ESPN NFL 2K5 is regarded by a ton of people to be the best football game ever and it's hard to argue against that.

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Does that also make 2K's deal with MLB moot?

Obviously if exclusivity ended it would be great for sports gamers. We all know about MVP but ESPN NFL 2K5 is regarded by a ton of people to be the best football game ever and it's hard to argue against that.

You are absolutely right Jon, I couldnt have put it any better if I said it myself :lol:

By far, the best football title, and its to bad, because Madden short changed everyone when they bought out the rights, right before espn could improve upon the next release....I was so pizzed off, I was ready to scream. ESPN would of hands down beat out Madden, and thats the last thing EA wanted to happen. Not one thing from ESPN was incorporated into Madden, and thats a shame. I loved the halftime highlights, nothing beat it.

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Does that also make 2K's deal with MLB moot?

Obviously if exclusivity ended it would be great for sports gamers. We all know about MVP but ESPN NFL 2K5 is regarded by a ton of people to be the best football game ever and it's hard to argue against that.

Not yet. This still has to go to trial but if EA loses this suit then it would affect 2K also. You can bet on that. Because they did the exact same thing only with a different sport.

I don't know if any of you collect baseball cards, but this case kind of reminds me of this. I could be wrong with this analogy, but here goes: For years and years, the only company that made baseball cards was the Topps company. Every year it was just them. That ended in the summer of 1980 when a lawsuit filed by some other companies claimed that Topps had an unfair monopoly on the baseball card business. Topps lost this suit and in 1981 instead of having one baseball card set, there were three of them. Topps, Donruss and Fleer. A few years later Upper Deck joined the group. As a result of this, the look of the baseball cards improved dramatically because Topps and the other companies were in competition with each other. Each company had the right to release their officially licensed cards and the monopoly that Topps once had was over.

I compare this to the monopoly EA has with football. And I agree, ESPN NFL 2005 for the X box was a great game. I still have it and I'm not going to get rid of it. It was head and shoulders above the joke that is EA Madden football.

I am very interested in this case and I want EA and 2K to get what is coming to them.

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