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EA acquires ESPN license


foogledricks
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This was reported on just about every site including yahoo, ESPN, IGN, Gamespot, etc. Starting next year, NFL 2K series (aka ESPN NFL Football) can use neither its NFL or ESPN assets. I have a renewed feeling of anti-competitive angst. I'd really love to hear what Visual Concepts feels about all this. Are they going to lose all their jobs? Their entire existance is based on making these Professional sports games with (now) the ESPN license. This is a sad couple of months for gaming. Please US government, make EA into baby bells.

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Exactly. Money makes people talk. "Steal" is too strong a word.

Ok, you're right, they "swiped" the license. No, they "took" the license. Or from office space: "It becomes ours." It is fun to have a semantic conversation. The sentiment of course is that a license that was once Visual Concepts, is now EAs. This happened in a very drastic way, and is hugely impactful. That is why I use the strong wording. Because I think it pairs well with what has happened. Even if it is semantically incorrect.

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Sega is stupid for putting themselves in position to lose the license. But it is hard not to piggyback the acquisition of the NFL license on top of the acquisition of the ESPN license, given that both happened recently and are critical blows to EAs only significant competion in this market.

 

I suggest dismantling this thread since no one will be able to get past the word "steal" and I can't edit the title with my forum powers.

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I just find it amazing that Sega launched the ESPN rebranding of their sports games, which they pushed as a major exclusive at the time, without any sort of longterm deal. 2 years is not longterm. Yet another smart move by Sega.

 

Then again, what was on the table? It could be that ESPN did not allow for a long-term or they made the terms such that a long-term was impossible for Sega. Is there any info out there to tell us one way or the other?

 

-j

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Regardless of any inside details, It appears to me that Sega really screwed up on the dealings with ESPN.

 

The Sega 2k series of sports titles where already gaining in prestige among gamers with each year and was becoming it's own brandname. At the time they first inked their deal with ESPN, I would say the move was more beneficial to ESPN than it was to Sega. Prior to this deal Sega had a series of sports titles that had developed a strong reputation among gamers, that seemed to be growing with each passing year. ESPN on the other hand had a past of crude crappy games that sold poorly, where quickly forgotten, or where so soul-suckingly awful that the games where never even completed and released.

 

While the ESPN licence was a nice finishing touch, it is not what sold the games, The low pricing, the great reviews and the reputation Sega's 2K brand had built among gamers is what sold them. But now after a year or two of puttting out quality product, many casual gamers recognize the series by the ESPN moniker rather than Sega or 2K.

 

My point is that if they had simply stuck with putting the 2k or SEGA branding first and foremost and not signed a deal with ESPN, the series would probably still be selling just as well, and they would not now be left with a bit of an identity crisis among lesser informed consumers. I don't care what the fine print of their contract with ESPN may have included, If you own a franchise that is starting to gain in popularity, you DO NOT change your brand name unless you are damn certain that you will be able to maintain that branding for a long time.

 

Sega where selling these games a damn near loss-leader prices in order to get people to try their product and build a reputation for a brand-name that they had not even bothered to secure any kind of rights to for even the immediate future, I'm sorry but anyway you cut it, that is just plain stupid decision making on someone's behalf.

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I wish that Sega, Take 2, or Visual Concepts would be more vocal about all of this. But absent that, I will hypothesize that Sega fully intended to keep the ESPN license, then EA acquire the exclusive rights to the NFL license, making the ESPN license investment a waste of money. Kind of makes sense. It's like having frosting without a cake to put it on. God, this is making me hungry, uh, angry.

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