After 28 long years, EA and FIFA’s partnership has ended. Instead of playing FIFA 24 next year, we’ll instead get EA Sports FC 24, which is just an all around garbage name. Still, a rose by any other name, FIFA (or whatever it gets called) is the easily best football sim on the market, and maybe the best sport sim full stop. That’s unlikely to change, especially as it’s keeping the FIFA licences - meaning it will still have the real teams, real leagues, and real players - it’s just losing the naming rights. However, there still could be a FIFA game in the near future, and it would be a beautiful disaster.
The FIFA naming rights belong to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or, as you might have guessed, FIFA. This governing body which oversees the sport has licensed out its name to EA since 1994, and for many people has become more synonymous with the football sim than the organisation itself. Clearly strapped for cash in these threadbare times for football, FIFA wanted $1 billion over the next four years from EA to keep the name, having previously charged $150 million a year.
In truth, I wish there was a way for both corporations to lose, but this outcome means FIFA gets no money and EA has to use its monumentally stupid name that reeks of Washington Football Team, so I guess they both kind of did. I look forward to playing EA Commanders 25.
The obvious question is what changes for EA, but unfortunately for those who enjoy watching car crashes from a safe distance, I think the answer is ‘very little’. FIFA is just the name, and while FUT’s new name (is it cheeky enough to become ‘Football Ultimate Team’ to keep the acronym?) will be an adjustment, what’s really in a name anyway?
Thankfully for car crash fans, FIFA itself plans on going full Jayne Mansfield and launching a game of its own, cashing in on its name in the space. This will be a) terrible and b) impossible to resist.
In any sport, hobby, or other activity that has reached mass market appeal, the suits at the top are often disconnected from the thing they oversee. With FIFA, this feels especially noticeable. Perhaps it’s because football has always been the sport of the working class, the game of the underdog, and is led by millionaires taking bribes from other millionaires to become even richer millionaires. They are laughably disconnected from the sport at large and highly incompetent. Sepp Blatter, the former president, was found guilty of corruption in 2015 and removed from office - the big surprise at the time was that more were not thrown out with him.
Chuck Blazer, the whistleblower on the corruption, was not an upstanding citizen defending the sport’s honour, but a coward who flipped. Blazer himself had been hiding his taxes from the FBI and IRS (a task so widespread it might as well have been FIFA policy) and admitted to accepting bribes for the 2022 World Cup vote. Blatter admitted the same, plus the 1998 World Cup vote. At the time of his arrest, Blazer owned a $6k a month apartment in Trump Tower which was used exclusively by Blazer’s cats.
This all leads me to a single plea: FIFA, please make a FIFA game. You are so disconnected from the sport you oversee, the fans you bleed dry, and have zero experience in game development. So please, make a beautiful disaster just for me. Show the world it can get worse than eFootball. Show us all how much you know about what fans want, about what the sport needs. Put your 167 team World Cup in there to get it out of your system, add in your silly alternatives to penalties, use it as a testing ground for all the stupid rule changes you suggest despite being hideously out of touch with how the sport is played today.
Please, just for me, make your absolutely garbage FIFA game. Cash in on your name and see where that gets you. I hope you sink millions into it and lose it all.