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EA secures exclusive NCAA rights for six years

The leading US college football league, the NCAA, has announced a new six-year licensing deal with Electronic Arts which sees yet another major US sporting event becoming exclusive to the EA Sports label.

The leading US college football league, the NCAA, has announced a new six-year licensing deal with Electronic Arts which sees yet another major US sporting event becoming exclusive to the EA Sports label.

The contract, which covers all console videogames including online and handheld titles, takes effect in time for this summer's NCAA Football 2006 title to be covered by the deal, and financial terms have not been disclosed.

The move is the latest in a series of exclusive signings for Electronic Arts, which before Christmas shocked the sports game market by inking an exclusive deal with the NFL - North America's largest sports league.

However, although NCAA is popular, this deal won't particularly affect EA's competitors in the way that the NFL deal did - since EA Sports is the only brand with an active NCAA videogame franchise anyway.

"When we began our analysis of the videogame landscape, it became apparent that EA Sports was best positioned from a marketing and development perspective to maximize the sales opportunities for college football," according to Pat Battle, CEO of the Collegiate Licensing Company, which handles NCAA licensing.

"EA Sports is currently our top non-apparel licensee," confirmed the University of Notre Dame's director of licensing, Mike Low, demonstrating the importance of videogames to modern sports league business models. "Fans love the effort they put into making the stadium, the traditions, mascots and the whole game environment so realistic."

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.