Electronic Arts (EA), the video game developer behind the popular FIFA title, has agreed partnerships with European soccer’s governing body UEFA and global sports streaming service DAZN around the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) club competition.
The agreement with UEFA will see the developer’s EA Sports arm include the UWCL in its FIFA 23 game, with the knockout stages of this year’s competition becoming available on the platform in early 2023.
In addition, the video game developer unveiled its new ‘Starting XI Fund’, an accelerator to grow the women’s game. To jumpstart the fund, EA Sports has committed an $11-million investment, which will incorporate in-game, league, club, and athlete investments.
Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s chief of women’s football, said: “We are delighted that EA Sports has chosen to become a UEFA Women’s Football partner and we are looking forward to working closely over the coming years as they share our ambition to make the women’s game even stronger and take it to new heights.
“We are also thrilled to see the UEFA Women’s Champions League being integrated into FIFA 23. This is another major step in the women’s game and an ideal additional platform for the female athletes contributing to its success.”
Through the deal with DAZN, EA Sports will serve as a sponsor of the platform’s broadcast coverage of the UWCL.
The global multi-year partnership between the two parties will formally commence in March 2023 and, in the first season, span all live matches from the quarter-finals through to the final in May.
The sponsorship deal will see EA Sports advertising featured across all matchday global broadcasts of the knockout stage on both DAZN and on DAZN’s UWCL YouTube channel.
Shay Segev, DAZN Group chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to officially announce EA Sports as DAZN’s newest global broadcast sponsor of the UEFA Women’s Champions League coverage, as part of a budding roster of like-minded brands investing into the ever-strengthening women’s football economic ecosystem.
“What EA Sports is doing to advance the women’s game is game-changing, and we look forward to activating this new partnership to collectively reach and engage millions more fans around the globe, further tap into the commercial potential of the sport, and inspire the next generation along the way.”
The 2021-22 season was DAZN’s first as the exclusive global host broadcaster for the UWCL as part of the four-year deal it struck with UEFA last year.
DAZN’s agreement marked the first time that UEFA had centralized all UWCL matches globally. As part of this deal, the platform also entered into a partnership with YouTube that made the competition live and free for fans around the world for the first time.
According to DAZN, it generated 64 million views on its streaming service and UWCL YouTube channel from over 230 countries and territories throughout the season. Of that figure, 4.1 million live views were attributed to the final.
Last season’s final between France’s Lyon and Spain’s Barcelona set a new viewership record as a cumulative global audience of 3.6 million watched the match across DAZN, its dedicated YouTube channel, and 11 free-to-air channels in Europe to which it sub-licensed the game.
The company added that in the last three months of the season alone, more than 12.3 million unique viewers visited DAZN's UWCL YouTube channel to watch the knockout round fixtures, final, and original content.
In other soccer deals, EA Sports was recently named as the new title sponsor of the Spanish men's top-flight LaLiga from next season and a sponsor of UK pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports’ coverage of the English Premier League.