American football’s NFL has extended its esports-based collaboration with video game developer Electronic Arts, in a multi-year renewal announced today (August 10).

The deal entails the EA Sports division of the company continuing to produce the Madden NFL Championship Series (MCS), the league’s popular official video game competition.

The agreement, a joint statement has said, “will help align MCS with NFL events and key moments throughout the season, as the NFL and EA continue to grow and deepen NFL fandom through esports.”

The MCS 2023 calendar, the statement has said, will closely match up with the actual NFL campaign, culminating with the Madden NFL 23 Bowl during the same week as the league’s iconic Super Bowl.

The pair have also said they will partner for new experiences for fans around the globe, with the Campbell’s Chunky Soup brand to return as an official MCS partner, and to carry on receiving virtual naming rights to the Campbell’s Chunky Stadium, where games on that platform will be held.

The total prize money for MCS 23 is $1.7 million, with the registration period for the league’s video game series now open.

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Ed Kiang, vice-president of video gaming at the NFL, said: “As a trusted partner for more than 30 years, EA's commitment to football authenticity with Madden NFL is exemplary. Extending our partnership with EA is another avenue for the league to grow fandom off the field …”

Brent Koning, EA Esports’ vice-president, added: “Since the MCS started five years ago, it has helped showcase the game by elevating the greatest players in the world while giving every single Madden NFL player the chance to go from couch to champion. We can't wait to see how the MCS 23 season unfolds.”

Both parties have said they will work together to “elevate Madden NFL competitors into stars.”

The last deal between the NFL and EA Sports was struck in late 2020, and at that point was scheduled to run until early 2026.

Meanwhile, last season’s Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams, have entered into a commercial deal with Dapper Labs, the consumer blockchain firm, covering the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.

The deal, which marks Dapper Labs’ first season-long tie-up with an NFL franchise (although it does have a deal in place with the league itself), involves the company creating a range of collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The first range of these to come out will be a limited-edition collection of NFTs covering the Rams’ Super Bowl rings. 

The Dapper Labs logo will also be featured on a range of Rams content, including “serving as the presenting partner of the Moment of the Month”, and the duo will, in addition, collaborate on a “custom content series focused on education around digital collectibles.”

The collectible rings will range in price from $9 to $699 and are on sale from tomorrow (August 11).

They will be available to fans via the NFL All Day platform, currently in the beta stages of development.

Another franchise to have struck a commercial deal in the last 48 hours has been the Las Vegas Raiders, who tied up a deal with Viva Aerobus.

That firm has now become the team’s official Mexican airline, the first commercial deal the team has struck with a brand from that country.

Through the deal, the airline will “decorate one of its Airbus aircrafts with iconic Raiders imagery”, and will also give its passengers “the opportunity to win trips, exclusive access, and tickets to attend Raiders games in Las Vegas.”