The Brandr Group files temporary restraining order against EA Sports, could possibly delay release

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos06/28/23

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EA Sports continues to face roadblocks in the court room. The Brandr Group filed a lawsuit against EA Sports in the Northern District of California for tortious interference last week.

Now the company filed a temporary restraining order, which could delay the release of the college football game if it was granted. If the restraining order is granted, it would prohibit the video gaming company from offering deals to schools and athletes.

If The Brandr Group was granted the order, they could file for an injunction. This would force EA from making any moves until the lawsuit produces a decision. EA has not wasted any time, however, filing an order to deny the restraining order.

“The preliminary injunction would be in place throughout the entire pendency of the case. So, that could slow things down,” Mit Winter, a college sports attorney at Kansas City-based Kennyhertz Perry, said. “So much depends on who they have agreements with, we don’t know who Brandr has agreements with. Plus, EA could just move forward without those athletes. It could be worse for the athlete because then they’re not getting paid.”

A Case Management Conference has been set for Sept. 26, which is when a court date could be agreed upon. TBG facilitates group licensing opportunities on behalf of the student-athletes and represents more than 54 Division I institutions. Athletes have the option to enter into the group licensing deal, according to TBG.

The Brandr Group has not responded to a request for comment. The lawsuit argues EA attempted to retain players’ rights while evading The Brandr Group’s group licensing contracts with more than 54 Division I institutions.

“A preliminary injunction is warranted here,” The Brandr Group wrote in its temporary restraining order filing. “Any potential (marginal) harm to EA Sports is far outweighed by the irreparable harm that will be prevented by protecting the contractual rights of TBG and its Partner Schools, and especially the interests of the Client Athletes who stand to miss out on fair compensation for their participation in the Game and immeasurable financial opportunities in the future given EA’s exclusivity requirements.”

Last month, EA contracted OneTeam Partners to facilitate college athletes’ likeness. Details of the agreements are still murky, but a source indicated to On3 that the cash pool for athletes was in the $5 million neighborhood, which would pay out to $500 per player. Athletes will reportedly not make royalties off the game, either.

The College Football Players Association responded by calling for a boycott of the game. The Brandr Group called the payout “far below market value” in its lawsuit against EA.

Set to be the game’s first edition since 2013, EA told The Athletic last week the complaint would not have an impact on the timeline or release date.

“The complaint will not impact our development timelines,” the video gaming company said. “The game is on track and is a priority for EA Sports.”