NHL checks EA exclusivity offer

Publisher's deal with prohockey Player's Association reportedly nixed by the league, which wants competing games.

After losing the entire 2004-2005 NHL season to a labor dispute between the league and the NHL Players Association, it turns out hockey fans were in danger of losing the 2K7 NHL season as well.

Electronic Arts recently signed a six-year, $44.2 million exclusivity agreement with the NHLPA, but nobody told the NHL itself, according to an article in the Sports Business Journal (subscription required). The deal reportedly only covered third-party games, so Sony could continue its licensing of the Gretzky NHL series.

Upset by the notion that the players would try to go behind its back and essentially impose exclusivity on the deal, the league refused to extend its own licensing agreement with EA unless all parties returned to the negotiating table and found a way to cut Take-Two Interactive in on the deal. Take-Two publishes the NHL 2K series of games through its 2K Sports label, while Electronic Arts has published NHL games dating back to NHL Hockey on the Sega Genesis in 1991. In that stretch of time, the company only once made a game with the Player's Association license but not the league license, NHLPA '93.

In May 2004, the Sports Business Journal broke the news that Electronic Arts was negotiating a four-year, $1 billion exclusive contract with NFL Players Inc., the marketing arm of the NFL Players Association.

The NFLPA denied the report and a retraction was made, but later that year, an exclusive publishing deal was struck between Players Inc., the NFL, and EA, this one for five years and with no dollar amount announced, although the Sports Business Journal NHL article references the current deal and pegs it at $300 million.

Contrary to reports that characterize today's news as coming directly from Electronic Arts, neither EA nor 2K Sports would acknowledge that the NHLPA exclusivity talks had taken place. A spokesperson from Electronic Arts said, "EA has not made any announcement of any sort," while a 2K Sports rep said only that the company was in ongoing negotiations for the NHL and NHLPA licenses.

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60 comments
Doged
Doged

Stupid EA at it again. People really should stop buying EA Sports games to really put the hurt on them.

ghostsod
ghostsod

EA SUCK IT DRY This crap is getting absurd from EA they already screwed us by getting the rights to the NFL, and deny the better nfl 2k series from excisting. Ummm last time i checked monopolizing something was ILLEGAL. What if Burger king Made a deal with the beef company to only sell hamburger meat to them, trying to put Mcdonalds, Wendys, etc out of business. I think the government would be all up in BK's sh%$. This is no different. Just because EA has more money they push these smaller companies out, whose games are more fun and better made. Just so EA can make a bigger profit. NKL 2k5 hurt Madden sales drastically when it announce a $19.99 game price. Think about it, then shortly after EA gets sole rights to the nfl players. Getting sole rights to something as big as that has never happened before in the gaming industry. Not positive but i think EA controls sole rights to MLB to this year. This crap sickens me. EA doesn't give two SH*$ts about its GAMERS just the almighty DOLLAR. We must rise up and fight this as gamers. FU EA BOYCOTT MADDEN AND MLB

munged
munged

After 5 years of playing EA's NHL games, I gladly jumped to 2K simply because it worked right. EA still hadn't fixed offsides in 2005, and who knows how bad the screwed it up with all the last minute rule changes. Maybe they should start trying to produce better games than trying to corner the market.

vanhalendlrband
vanhalendlrband

If they get exclusivity with this game i will not buy NHL games anymore. I'm not gonna be forced into buying EA's junk games.

ashlyantony
ashlyantony

Who cares about Hockey, It's Soccer, Football, Racing, Basketball, and the list keeps going on for EA Games but not Hockey. Peace EA..

Miltonelite
Miltonelite

ea only wants exlusive rights to all the sports games so they can slap crappy games together and not have to worry abouht compehhting with the likes of the 2k series. I'm not saying that the ea games are bad now, just saying that EA won't put as much effort into their games knowing they dont have any competition

CyphenX
CyphenX

jakkblades wrote: "Glad somebody has some balls" But Hockey uses a puck! In fact, all of the big ball sports (no pun intended), namely Football, Baseball, and Basketball, were the ones that DID sell an exclusivity deal with EA, so the point is that you have to be brave enough NOT to have balls! Oh, and take that EA! f***ing empire...

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Well, at least a sport besides the NBA decided to take a stand against the sports-license exclusivity garbage.

tomservo51
tomservo51

Well, if all you EA Sports MADDEN FANBOYS would stop buying their crappy roster updates every year, they wouldn't have all this money to throw around... LOL

Autolycus
Autolycus

5 pages of reading all the threads and it appears everyone pretty much is on the same page. Here is the problem, EA is in business to make MONEY. Just like gamestop(where i work and they completely suck) or any other large business. EA is so guilty of racial advertising and bad games, its not even funny. 2K Sports seems to be on the right track. However EVERYONE needs to realize the effect of having video games in such a mainstream. Small developers(like a group of 3 or 4 friends) stand no chance in creating video games these days. The sad part is most developers lose the GOAL of the game, because they are lost in deadlines and "number comparison" to get the most profit per title. Games need to be made by gamers. Even though a lot of people on here are ANTI Microsoft, they are doing what they can to help small people. The XBOX live Marketplace is a great way of cutting out the PUBLISHER(which are the people that do all the number crunching). Valve(half life 1 and 2) also did a great job by being able to download their game after paying for it(steam i think it was called). The sad part is, we are all a bit guilty for making the market the way it is. We all bought sequels and continued to by the next years sports titles. However, what we didnt know was, PUBLISHERS we're taking that as "release the same title under a sequel name" to make more money. Great games like Deus Ex(best xbox game IMO) and Physconauts are all still ahead of its time and yet the pubilshers wont publish different games because they dont make them a lot of money. Also, try not to purchased used games. Game stores like EB Games and Gamestop(same company now), make 200%+ profit on used games. The developers dont see squat and neither do the employees that work for their stores. Our store manager end ups making under $5.00 /hr if you figure out how much he works for his pay. I have been there for 3 years, gotten 1 raise and make 7.00. I have also been trhough 5 managers. When you buy used, the only people you are helping are the rich snobs in the corporate world. Greedy rich corporations are the number 1 problem in this country. Its not about what our country stands for anymore. Its about the mighty dollar, so spend the extra 5 bucks and help the developer, not the rich people. LIke it or not, its all true.

Beebo79
Beebo79

Comparing EA to Hitler does not make much sense as an analogy, but it is not disrespectful in any way to the people who died in World War 2. Seriously, how could you even make that sort of connection? Get a grip, and get over yourself.

mhder
mhder

Doesn't Microsoft do similar things with developers - try to buy support

cydcan
cydcan

It's called the European Theater to differentiate it from the Pacific Theater. It is a perfectly acceptable term used by the military as well. I was including all the soldiers who died in that war to show respect. I originally posted because I know that several family friends who lost family in the concentration camps would be INCREDIBLY offended to have a business--even if it is a rather large business--compared to a man who would have killed, murdered, eradicated, wiped out--pick a verb your little mind can comprehend--an entire group of people. Have some perspective.

Fetechini
Fetechini

wow, good job NHL, denying EA.

bj91x
bj91x

OMG!!! I ALREADY HATE EA, AND HEARING THIS REALLY MAKES ME WANT TO... WELL, I GUESS I CAN'T REALLY SAY THIS IN A PLACE KIDS POST!!! SERIOUSLY, EA, NEEDS TO JUST GO OUT OF BUSINESS!!! THEY'RE NEVER GETTING ANY OF MY MONEY!!! #$@%%$

sushi_111
sushi_111

Thank god, I cant stand NHL games, they bow to 2K games, i love them, now all we need is NHL Hitz to come back... Good job NHL! Thanks for having some guts, and not letting the worse game win, we all know 2K owns NHL in every way.

wokisan
wokisan

Too bad the NFL didn't do the same. Less competition rarely (if ever) = better quality.

MedevilDragon
MedevilDragon

It's a shame what EA's has become now, they used to be a grate back in the Snes & Mega-drive days (Desert Strike) when they were known as Electronic Arts. But now there just a money grabbing group since all there games now suck. Take-Two make top of the line games much better than EA's,just hope that EA will go bust next year because no one cares about them anymore.

thekey
thekey

ManiacCop2 Yes they are. Kuruption84 you see the light. unrealylife thank you!

thekey
thekey

cydcan They are like hitler and there canadian too... Not that the fact that there being Canadian is a big deal but why do they keep trying to dominate the American market with ecsclusives and then saying that there the best then, they do it with brainwashing propaganda. Propaganda isn't bad for avertising but for the sake of gaming EA is a facist company all together. They suck!!!

thekey
thekey

I HATE EA to the fullest way one could hate them. They suck, in every way they took away our preciuos NFL 2K series tried to take away our NBA they , got the AFL, FIFA, and nascar. If EA is so great why lock the others? I don't like madden, or NBA live, and NHL 06 isn't too far behind. Take that EA!!!

skemaal
skemaal

It's never good for one company to have exclusivity. It prevents innovations and better quality of a product.

ManiacCop2
ManiacCop2

EA is no different from any other corporation. When another publisher becomes bigger than EA they'll do the same thing. But it's still nice to see the NHL step up instead of sell out.

unrealylife
unrealylife

2k please don't let EA gain all the licenses.

Kuruption84
Kuruption84

God, I understand that it's business but damn. EA is trying to conquer the world!!!!!

ghsacidman
ghsacidman

Oh, and compairing EA to Hitler is not disrespectful at all cydcan... That kid was right. EA wants the world, maybe WW 3 will be the free peoples of earth vs. EA!!! You just don't know. So, how was that compairison offensive again??? Oh, and good job calling it the European Theater of WW2.... I know the History Channel uses the term but...... It was a war, not a stage show. Who's showing disrespect now?????? See, I can do it too!!! Anyway, EA is evil.

ghsacidman
ghsacidman

Oh great, the EA monster is getting bigger and hungry!!! Stupid EA, trying to aquire every developer and exclusive they can. You stole Westwood from us...... HAVEN'T YOU DONE ENOUGH EA!!!

RoC1981
RoC1981

Let us decide what we want !!! EA is trying to much and it's gonna have a BAD END... NHL 2K it's way better .

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

Good job NHL, I'm a huge fan of hockey and this year's NHL '06 by EA sucked big time... if they would've bought the license, it would've been a really, really bad thing.

GreyFoxV1
GreyFoxV1

I love hockey that much more now. Thank god for the NHL having some balls.

cydcan
cydcan

I'm not a real big fan of monopolies, but how about we have a little perspective here? Comparing EA to Hitler--even if it is in a joking manner--is incredibly disrespectful to every one who died in the European theater of World War II.

VGMusicFreak
VGMusicFreak

As much as i cant stand sports, i cant stand EA even more so good show NHL.

CJL13
CJL13

Usually I hate hockey, but I tip my hat trick to the NHL

Netherscourge
Netherscourge

Well, if all you EA Sports MADDEN FANBOYS would stop buying their crappy roster updates every year, they wouldn't have all this money to throw around...

9mmSpliff
9mmSpliff

thank god the best sport in the world didnt give in to them. I love EA, but this is getting bad as their turning into Intel...lol. I wish they would do a NLL game (Lacrosse). You guys should wnat one too, no faster hard hitting sport out there besides hockey.

mikekare79
mikekare79

I love hockey but EA Sports gets worse every year. Look at Madden, it used to get way better every year, this year was cool but it felt more like I was paying for a roster update. 2K games are awesome and innovative, like EA used to be...

Raziel4
Raziel4

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

LOL......wait...why would ea want to have an exclusive deal anyways? does anyone actually buy hockey games?

karlmv
karlmv

i'm just where EA is getting all this money and with their buying these lisinces EA is gonna have to run out of money eventually but as long as they dont get id im fine

OPOLO
OPOLO

Well at this point It seems that the EA buying spree(s), does not and will not benefit gamers at all.... So Please STOP

Buck_Hotep
Buck_Hotep

If EA and the NHLPA are forced to cancel their deal and work out deals that would include other publishers like Take-Two then I would say that the NHL's forecheck of this deal is very TieDomi-like.

Lemieux66
Lemieux66

Unbelievable. EA makes me sick.

slow-pc
slow-pc

At least the NHL knows that 2k has made the better sports games and wants to make sure they are still in the game.