EA Lands Three-Year Licensing Deal with NCAA, CLC

EA has inked a deal with a CLC for a non-exlcusive, three-year licensing deal to make college football games amidst ongoing legal woes.

Today’s announcement follows news from earlier this week that the CLC – the company responsible for managing trademark licensing and marketing for more than 200 colleges and universities – had opted not to renew EA’s contract, locking them out of exclusive rights to create NCAA games.

However, Joystiq reports, citing a source “familiar with the matter,” that EA has received a three-year licensing extension effective July 1, 2013, again for a non-exclusive football game. EA will reportedly decline to request another extension for at least another five years.

The decision by the CLC – and EA – appears to stem from the ongoing lawsuit between EA and the CLC. Last year, EA agreed to a $27 million settlement after the CLC claimed that the publisher/developer violated antitrust and consumer protection laws, as well as alleged “exploitation” of collegiate athletes.

“It’s apparent to us that the NCAA’s decision to end its long and hugely profitable relationship with EA is tied directly to the pressure our litigation is bringing the bear,” Steve Berman, managing partner of law firm Hagens Berman and co-lead counsel in the class-action lawsuit, said in response to the news.

“Our suit illustrates how the cabal between the NCAA and EA has exploited student athletes for years, using their images in video games without compensation. While we are heartened they’ve stopped the practice, we believe they owe those student athletes a great deal more than their implied promise to stop stealing their images.”

Although EA managed to land a three-year licensing deal with the CLC and the NCAA, the next college football entry to come out of EA Sports will not be titled NCAA Football, as it has been in the past.

EA’s exclusive contract with the NFL remains unchanged, and will continue as-is. Whether or not EA tries to move forward with its NCAA Football franchise after its legal situation is put to an end remains to be seen.