Electronic Arts (EA), the video game developer behind the popular ‘FIFA’ title, has today (August 2) expanded its long-term partnership with LaLiga by becoming the title sponsor of the top Spanish soccer league.
The multi-year agreement will come into effect from the start of the 2023-24 season and will see the company’s EA Sports FC brand hold naming rights for all LaLiga competitions.
In addition, the partnership will include a complete rebrand of LaLiga with EA Sports including all logos, graphics, fonts, and other visual elements, while also delivering new in-game integration, broadcast highlights, and joint commitments to supporting grassroots initiatives.
The new tie-up will encompass the top-flight LaLiga and second-tier Segunda Division, LaLiga Promises, the league’s annual youth tournament, and eLaLiga esports competition.
EA will replace Spanish bank Santander when its present title sponsorship agreement expires at the end of the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Santander has lent its name to the high-profile league since 2016-17, paying around €20 million (now $20.4 million) per year.
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The deal with EA Sports is understood to be worth considerably more at around €30 million per annum.
Last month (July), Santander agreed to mutually part ways with LaLiga and stated that the move was taken “to explore new ways of collaboration, both together and with third parties.”
Since 2016, Spain’s top two divisions have been known as the LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank.
The bank signed a renewed two-year deal with LaLiga ahead of the 2021-22 season that included an option of a further year, until 2023-24, which it opted not to exercise.
Despite the end of their title sponsorship agreement, Santander will retain a relationship with LaLiga.
LaLiga’s expanded deal with EA Sports prolongs a partnership that spans over two decades, with the developer serving as the exclusive official video games partner of the league, and its teams and players featuring in successive editions of FIFA.
They signed a 10-year extension in 2020 with the growth in popularity of gaming and esports making EA Sports one of LaLiga’s most important commercial partners.
The two parties have said they will “deepen their collaboration” through this new agreement.
In addition to the naming rights element, the partnership will feature technology, gameplay enhancements and development, and real-world football highlights.
LaLiga and EA Sports will also collaborate on grassroots initiatives to grow the game which will include increasing accessibility and upgrading facilities.
Javier Tebas, LaLiga president, said: "EA Sports represents the cutting edge of interactive football experiences while LaLiga is at the forefront of actual football competitions with unmatched in-person, broadcast, and digital fan experiences.
“We have been strategic partners with EA Sports for years and this expanded agreement is a commitment to providing the next level of innovation to all football fans, a fusion between the virtual and real worlds of football.”
David Jackson, vice-president of brand at EA Sports FC, added: “EA Sports FC is committed to delivering the most authentic and immersive experiences in global football.
“Our innovative new partnership with LaLiga further elevates that ambition and solidifies both organizations' position at the center of football culture. The visible reach and scale of this partnership is deeply exciting, as is the opportunity to deliver incredible experiences for fans through in-game innovation, interactive entertainment, and grassroots initiatives.”
EA recently created the EA Sports FC brand after announcing the end of its licensing deal with FIFA to continue producing the popular title.
The agreement, which has been in place since 1993, is set to come to an end next year with FIFA 23 to be the final game released under their partnership.
The publisher will continue to create soccer-themed titles but from next year (with the deal set to end after the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup), will simply come under the title of EA Sports FC.