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Electronic Arts Passes On AFL Deal Extension

Electronic Arts chose not to renew its deal with the Arena Football League to exclusively develop games based on the sports license, leaving the AFL without a video game partner for the upcoming 2009 season, according to media reports.
Electronic Arts chose not to renew its deal with the Arena Football League to exclusively develop games based on the sports license. The video game publisher announced its partnership with the league in early 2005, and produced two AFL games for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox since. With the exclusive deal, EA Sports intended to produce several arena football games and partner with the AFL on media and retail marketing. EA Sports, however, decided not to produce an AFL game for the last season, presumably due to projected low sales. The studio also passed on an option to buy into the AFL as part of a three-year deal that began in 2006, as revealed by a recent SEC filing. Electronic Arts' decision to pass on the deal and buy-in option comes as the AFL and its owners are expected to vote on an investment deal with Platinum Equity to help grow the league, according to a subscription-only report from the Sports Business Journal. Even with the lapsed deal, EA Sports still has exclusive licensing agreements with the NFL and other major sports properties, producing the massive-selling Madden football game series alongside NCAA Football titles. “The AFL is examining all of its options in this rapidly evolving category,” said AFL spokesman Chris McCloskey in a statement to the Sports Business Journal.

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