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EA Sports to allow FBS athletes to opt into 2024 video game

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos05/17/23


FBS athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from their likeness in the 2024 EA Sports College Football video game.

A source involved in the licensing bidding for the rights to the game told On3 on Wednesday morning that EA has contracted OneTeam Partners to facilitate college athletes’ likeness. ESPN was the first to report the news.

Details of the agreements or execution plan appear to still be murky. The agreement has not been finalized yet, but the source indicated the cash pool was in the $5 million neighborhood, which would pay out to $500 per player.

Opendorse, which has a previous partnership with EA through the Madden game, could assist the company in distributing the funds through marketing deals on its platform. Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence declined comment at this time when reached by On3.

A decision on the licensing partner did not appear to be on the radar a week ago. The Brandr Group and Teamworks announced a partnership last week, with a quiet nod the relationship was aimed to enter the conversation.

OneTeam has been positioned since EA made the decision in 2022 to return to college football to score the contract. Working with a number of professional players associations on group licensing and marketing, the firm has become a major player in the NIL era. OneTeam partnered with Fanatics last February to provide college football players the opportunity to be compensated for a multi-jersey customization program.

According to ESPN, 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.

EA made the decision back in November to release in the summer of 2024.

Before July 2021, college athletes were prohibited from profiting from their name, image and likeness. The origin of NIL traces back to the late 2000s when former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and 19 others sued 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.

EA shut down the college football video game production after the 2014 game due to losing in the O’Bannon lawsuit.

Nearly a decade later, the game will be returning to shelves with athletes profiting from their image and likeness.