OneTeam Partners, CLC launch NIL opt-in program for EA Sports College Football 25

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As the launch date of EA Sports College Football 25 grows closer, the crucial behind-the-scenes pieces are starting to come together.

Most importantly, for the first time in the game’s history, athletes will be compensated for having their name, image and likeness included in the game. EA Sports contracted OneTeam Partners this past summer to manage the facilitation of NIL rights.

The opportunity for athletes to opt into the game is now starting.

OneTeam and CLC, the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing company, have partnered to manage college athlete participation. The two have previously worked hand-in-hand to facilitate the inclusion of more than 15,000 college athletes in merchandise deals across various products. All deals are done through CLC’s Compass NIL app.

Starting on Thursday, college football players have the chance to opt-in to have their name, image and likeness used in the game. According to OneTeam, athletes will download the Compass NIL app and register, going through the process of signing a non-exclusive agreement which can be downloaded and reviewed by agents and attorneys. Athletes will be able to enter their tax and payment info, too.

According to ESPN, all athletes who opt in and have their NIL appear in the game will eventually receive $600 plus a copy of the game, typically valued at $70.

“We are proud that OneTeam and EA SPORTS have elected to manage college athlete video game opt-ins through our COMPASS app, which was developed from our more than 40 years of experience managing hundreds of thousands of licensing deals for collegiate institutions,” Learfield president of brand management and marketing Cory Moss said. “We are excited that our COMPASS platform will bring this long-awaited game back to college sports fans everywhere.”

Details of opt-in process, EA’s plans

This is strictly an opt-in process for players’ NIL to be used, though.

EA Sports is hoping most college football players opt-in to the initial window, which ends at the end of April. There’s been no update on the possibility of royalties to this point.

Expected to be the largest NIL deal ever, a OneTeam representative anticipated roughly 11,400 athletes could be included in the game. EA plans to choose roughly 85 players per team – the number of scholarship athletes allowed on each FBS roster. The group licensing company will manage agreements with eligible players, ensuring the representation of thousands of players from various college football programs in the highly-anticipated upcoming video game.

It’s an unprecedented moment, one that has been years in the making.

The original EA college football video game franchise ran from 1998 until 2013. Moving from the Bill Walsh College Football moniker to NCAA Football, the annual game was eventually discontinued. Lawsuits emerged, most notably former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and 19 others’ decision to sue the NCAA, arguing the organization violated United States antitrust laws by not allowing athletes to make a share of the revenues generated from the use of their in broadcasts and video games.

A judge later ordered the NCAA to pay nearly $46 million in attorney fees and legal costs to O’Bannon’s lawyers for their court victory. Now O’Bannon’s efforts are paying off. With the NCAA installing its NIL policy in the summer of 2021, college athlete can monetize their publicity rights.

The game is only inching closer, too. EA unveiled the EA Sports College Football 25 logo last week and the first looks of the video game’s development.

“Including players in the return of the EA Sports College Football franchise guarantees they receive their direct benefits,” OneTeam senior vice president of strategy and operations Shelbi Hendricks said. “Our partnership with industry leaders like EA Sports and CLC focuses on authentic representation, underscoring the crucial role current players play in shaping the game.”

What to expect in EA Sports College Football 25?

The video game was last sold in 2013. At the time, EA Sports sold roughly 1.5 million copies. That number is expected to grow exponentially next summer, especially with college football fans waiting more than a decade for the franchise to return.

After months of anticipation, EA formally announced last week the game was set to be released in the summer of 2024. A full reveal of the upcoming video game will be unveiled in May. The official release date is expected to come in July, the same month previous games have been released. In a teaser trailer released, EA showed development images of the gates at Beaver Stadium, the Gator head that Florida players touch when running onto the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and Notre Dame players touching the “Play Like A Champion” sign.

Representatives from more than 120 FBS schools have committed to being in the game. All 10 FBS conferences, including the College Football Playoff, have also signed off. Matt Brown of Extra Points has documented the thousands of image and audio assets schools have sent to EA ahead of the video game, such as pictures of mascots, cheerleaders, uniforms and historic school items. The company has spent time recently on-site on campuses taking 3D scans of stadiums. The teaser trailer recently released was filmed in the Rose Bowl, too.

The transfer portal, which has dominated the sport with its one-time transfer rule recently, will also be included per The Athletic. With conference realignment and an expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, the game will surely have a different feel than NCAA 14, the last time the game was released.

With OneTeam and CLC formally partnering to start the NIL opt-in process for college football players, it is another sign that EA Sports College Football 25 is surely making its return this summer.