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Ummm...eh? EA and ESPN.

Romier S

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Alright in a really wierd twist EA has signed a branding deal with ESPN. Read on:


EA branding with ESPN


LOS ANGELES, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. (NasdaqNM:ERTS - News) on Friday said it has signed on as the title sponsor of a football preview show on ESPN, the sports network that has licensed its brand to EA competitor Sega Corp. (Tokyo:7964.T - News) for sports video games.


EA, the dominant publisher in the games industry, said the new "EA Sports NFL Matchup Show" would debut this Sunday on the network ahead of the first regular games of the football season.


The commentators on the show will illustrate their points using EA's "Madden NFL 2004" game, which sold more than 2 million units in its first three weeks of release. "Madden" competes directly with Sega's "ESPN NFL Football," which shipped to retail this week.


Last year, before Sega had its branding deal with ESPN, EA's "Madden" outsold Sega's "NFL 2K3" by such a wide margin that Sega was forced to lower its financial estimates for the year.


A spokesman for Visual Concepts, the Sega unit that develops its well-regarded sports games, was not immediately available to comment.


ESPN executives have emphasized business deal for branding with Sega would not affect their growing editorial coverage of and relations with the video game industry. ESPN.com's new games Web site, ESPN Gamer, gave "Madden" a higher review than "ESPN NFL Football."


ESPN spokesman David Nagle said sponsorships are open to anybody. As for Sega, he said "they are well represented" on air.



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This just confirms my beliefs that Sega is marketing ignorant.


Well, we don't know what kind of deals were discussed. I'm not arguing that Sega is savvy, but that this might not be a good example of them being ignorant. If EA backed up a truck full of cash to ESPN HQ, what could Sega do? What if they can't throw money around in their situation?


Further, I don't know what kind of structure Disney -- it could be that someone decided to plug the more popular product because they might have a more lucrative deal with EA on these matters. Who knows?


EA = 500lb. gorilla.


At least it isn't robotic.



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What a strange situation.


Lets get this straight here:


Monday night football is on ABC which is a sister/parent, whatever you want to call it, company to ESPN. ESPN has licensed their name to SEGA which is in competition with Madden. Monday night football has a licence with EA Sports. Now we have ESPN the station, using Madden on air rather than the product that bears their name.


Confused yet?


It seems the big winner in all this is Disney. Disney is getting money from SEGA, while also getting money from EA for Madden & Michaels and now they are getting more money from EA while simultaneously screwing SEGA in the back.


So why didnt EA just pay for the ESPN licence, in the first place, and then completely tie it in with ESPN sunday night football?


I am confused as to why ESPN would licence its name(and image) to a product and then promote their competitor on air. Seems to me if sales for SEGA's ESPN franchises take more of EA's market share, then ESPN could charge SEGA more for the rights to the licence.

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I am confused as to why ESPN would licence its name(and image) to a product and then promote their competitor on air.


Because they really don't care too much about the videogame market & what products bear their name? Example: the not very good Konami EPSN titles from a couple of years ago.


I suggest the theory that they were quite happy to sign the rights to exclusive use of the ESPN name/content to Sega for a big fat cheque, and later on, were quite happy to receive a big fat cheque from EA to push the Madden branding in their programming because Sega either never gave them a big enough cheque, or more likely, never considered giving them a cheque at all.


Is it funny? Yup. Is it a big deal? Not to me. Strange marketing like this goes on all the time.

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If ESPN had any interest at all in the Sega Sports (Oops, ESPN Videogames) games doing well, then this might be a bit odd. But as Dogbert has stated, Sega is paying to use the ESPN likeness and personalities which most likely doesn't include any sort of promotional tie ins. ESPN gets their money whether the games sell 2 copies, or 2 million copies.


Now EA is simply paying for their game to be featured on air.


To throw another wrench in there, aparently Gameday comes with a subscription card for ESPN magazine.

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Sega should buy up all the commercial space for the first few episodes. That would be funny.


And go back to their blast processing type strategies. I've been watching Madden on XBox at work (in our demo system) and quite frankly, the graphics in Madden are terrible compared to ESPN.

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