August 24 – Major League Soccer (MLS) has agreed a multi-year agreement with EA Sports that will see them extend their partnership beyond the end of the FIFA23 video game license that ends this year before the game is renamed EA Sports FC.
With detail on FIFA’s own gaming ambitions to still be announced, it looks like the rights to creating their own rival game to EA Sports FC, with exclusivity over one of the world’s fastest growing leagues and in a market that will host the World Cup in 2026 has gone.
MLS said the new partnership with EA Sports will deepen the league’s integration within the game “to deliver the most immersive and authentic gaming experience for the millions of MLS fans, one of the youngest and most diverse fan bases in North American sports. The renewed partnership will continue to further MLS’ authentic in-game integration, with fans able to play with their favorite MLS clubs, players and stadiums.”
The deal will see EA serve as an Official Partner the MLS’s own esports competitive league, eMLS, which has grown from 19 MLS Clubs in 2018 to 27 clubs in the 2022 season. The partnership covers eMLS League Series 1 and 2 and the eMLS Cup.
“As the world’s game continues to grow in North America, so does our opportunity to curate soccer experiences representative of a rapidly evolving fan base,” said David Jackson, VP of Brand for EA SPORTS FIFA.
“Given MLS has one of the youngest and most diverse fan populations in North American sports, engaging the next generation in new and immersive ways will become increasingly important. We believe this partnership affords us a great opportunity to do that, whilst also continuing to deliver the most innovative and expansive soccer experiences available anywhere in the world.”
The agreement will be supported with “extensive opportunities” for fan engagement, including social media campaigns across MLS and club channels, and co-marketing initiatives between MLS and EA.
“Major League Soccer is proud to partner with EA as they are aligned with our league’s vision to be innovative and authentic in our approach to connecting with our passionate supporters and the next generation of fans,” said Rachel Hoagland, MLS Senior Vice President of Consumer Products.
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