Madden Football vs. “old school” NFL players
EA SPORTS has officially announced the Madden NFL 25, launching on August 27, 2013. This year’s game will feature a new Fan Cover Vote that will pit the NFL’s greatest legends against today’s hottest stars. A bracket of 32 all-time NFL greats will go head-to-head against one another, as will 32 modern NFL superstars, with the winners of each bracket facing off in the final round.
ESPN is conducting the fan vote on its site at this link.
I can’t believe that EA Sports executives and John Madden himself, didn’t do the right thing and just put a few of our greatest legends on the cover. This should have been a no-brainer for the executives at EA Sports. They’re celebrating 25 years of the game! The EA executives should have honored the “old-school” players for all the millions they have made using former player images – without having to pay a significant number of the “average” players any royalties.
Since its beginning in 1988, the franchise has sold approximately 99 million units and generated more than $3.7 billion in revenue. Not gross revenue – net revenue! That’s pure profit. The company on a whole, is projecting net revenue for 2013 to be over 4 Billion. That’s more annual net revenue than the NFL generates!
The EA Sports executives are making a lot of money and so is John Madden. His net worth – mostly as a result of his licensing agreement with EA – is estimated at around $200 million.
So, how much of the EA Sports revenue was shared with the “old-school” players whose images they used in their vintage games? Almost none of it, except for some Hall of Fame players. Even so, the Hall of Famers got low-balled for their publicity rights and the NFLPA helped EA Sports set up a monopoly on pro football gaming.
How do we know this?
In the Bernie Parrish, Herb Adderley lawsuit against the NFLPA, an employee for the NFLPA said the following in an email to an EA Sports executive: “I was able to forge this deal with [the Pro Football Hall of Fame] that provides them with $400K per year (which is significantly below market rate) in exchange for the HOF player rights. EA owes me a huge favor because that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football video game manufacturer out there.
As you know, retired players settled that lawsuit against the NFLPA for $27 million. The biggest reason the case was settled was because we discovered that the NFLPA had told EA Sports to scramble our images – which they did!
Unfortunately, the money from that lawsuit only went to players that signed group licensing agreements with the NFLPA. Many former players were left out of that settlement because they didn’t even know that the NFLPA was offering GLAs. Some have speculated that the NFLPA may have also put a number of the GLA’s in the shredding machine.
EA Sports could have easily paid for our publicity rights – so why didn’t they? I’ll tell you why – the vintage games don’t generate enough revenue for EA Sports to justify the cost of paying 15,000 to 20,000 former players a fee for their images.
For the first five years of EA Sports Madden Football game sales (1989-1993), not even the active players were getting a share of the “Mad”den money. It wasn’t until 1993 – when the NFLPA finally got the NFL to allow the union to set up Players Inc. – that they finally began to receive money for the use of their images and marketing activities.
In exchange for their “publicity rights” the League now gives millions of dollars to the active players through its subsidiary, NFL Ventures. The active players also generate revenue through licensing agreements with businesses like EA Sports. In their LM-2 annual report covering the period March 1, 2009 to February 28, 2010, the NFLPA reported that EA Sports paid them over $31 Million for the right to use active player images. I’m sure that figure has gone up considerably over the past three years.
Now EA Sports wants to pit us against the active players in a publicity stunt to generate more money from the sale of Madden Football video games. And guess who indirectly benefits from the sale of those games? You guessed it – the active players!
In an honest competition for who should be on the cover of Madden Football to honor their 25 years of gaming, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice’s accomplishments should blow the competition out of the water. They were “real” gamers!
In fact, EA Sports should put Montana and Rice on the cover. They were the most prolific QB/WR tandem in the History of the NFL. Read this article: Jerry Rice and Joe Montana: Where would they be without each other?
Why should they have just one player on the cover? Football is all about the “team” effort. It’s not about the individual.
Although we honor the accomplishments of some players, the fact is you need 11 to Tango. In this case 2 would be fine. I’m not sure about Joe Montana, but Jerry Rice does a pretty mean Tango.
I’ll make a prediction that when it comes down to the final round of voting, it will be Adrian Peterson vs. Joe Montana. The fans will probably pick Peterson, because most of the younger generation of “gamers” didn’t even know who Joe Montana was before this voting began on March 11, 2013.
I will be very surprised if an “old-school” player wins out over a “new-school” player.
If they don’t honor the former players by putting an old-school player – or two – on the cover of their Madden Football video game, than we need to boycott EA Sports and let the fans know why!
With that said, the best ways EA Sports can honor us, is by settling the Class Action lawsuit that has been filed against them for the alleged unlawful use of retired player images. Here is a link to information on that lawsuit: NFL players target Madden in EA lawsuit.
EA Sports has already settled an alleged Monopoly lawsuit against them for $27 Million dollars. Electronic Arts has to pay it to the class members. Guess who those members are? – The fans who bought the Madden Football game!
Does anyone see the irony of all this?
In closing, I just want to say that it’s time for EA Sports to settle the lawsuit with the former players they have profited from; the ones that they are now using to sell more Madden Football video games. Send Jeff Brown, the Vice President of Corporate Communications for EA Sports an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him and his company to do the right thing by settling the lawsuit and putting some “old school” players on the cover of the Madden Football video game.
By the way, since EA Sports is having a competition pitting us against active players, you should also know that Consumerist.com is having a competition for 2013 worst company in America and EA Sports won the competition last year. They’re a strong contender to repeat. Let’s help them. They just beat Facebook in the second round and they are matched up against AT&T in the next round. Make sure you go to the website link above and vote for EA Sports as the worst company in America.
Are you ready to boycott!
Your alumni brother,