EA has secured 2011 rights to the exclusive NFL license and allegedly been granted relief in its fees for this year's license, following player disputes which place the next season of American football in doubt.
A work stoppage is believed likely if the NFL cannot reach an agreement with its players before March 4. As such, its licensing contract with EA has been rethought, reports SportsBusinessDaily, apparently reducing "contractual obligations" for the troubled upcoming season but promising an additional year.
EA has previously seen competition for the NFL license from 2K, but has held the exclusive rights since 2005.
Commented Wayne Weaver, chairman of the NFL's business ventures committee, "For one of our core partners in a difficult environment, we say let's look at this, and maybe it makes some sense to extend something out longer and give our partner some relief in the short term but gain something on the back end."
An earlier Wall Street Journal report offered unconfirmed claims that EA had requested a $30 million reduction in its licensing fees because of the turbulence.
EA is believed to pay between $30 and 40 million per year for the rights to use NFL team names, logos and colours; this is apparently the NFL's most valuable contract outside of TV.
Madden NFL 12 is still scheduled for August, despite the possible strikes.