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Is the NFL now a hostage? 
Posted on January 15, 2009 at 11:10 AM.
We all know that the effort and resources needed to produce a modern sports game is getting pretty substantial and only seems to be becoming more difficult with each passing generation. With at least several years left to run on the newly extended NFL exclusivity deal with Electronic Arts, will the NFL have painted itself into a proverbial corner by the time the next true negotiations for the license occur?

It seems to me that after so many years have passes without any other company working on a similar title that soon there will be no way any company other than EA will be able to put out a high quality game, with reasonable development costs, and without missing a season or more to build it. Will the NFL find itself in a "EA Sports if itís in the game we are the only ones that can put it out for next season so we'll pay (insert low number here) for the license from now on" situation? If I was running EA I'd be looking for the moment when it's either we do it or it doesn't happen to open up the bidding again.
Comments
# 1 rudyjuly2 @ Jan 15
I thought the exact same thing when the deal first went down. The exclusive deal helps kill the competition which then kills the NFL's leverage in the next contract negotiation. EA could cut the contract offer in half and what's the NFL going to do about it? EA could really put the screws to the NFL.

The only way the NFL can get around this is to open up extension talks at least two years in advance. If EA fails to meet their expectations then they would have to give another developer plenty of time to come up with an alternative. But would that alternative be able to pay more than EA? Doubtful.
 
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