While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, we do know that a multi-year deal was signed between the video game publisher 2K games and the NFL. However, this isn’t something that has never been done before. Over 15 years ago between 1999 – 2004 2K games published a title called NFL 2K. Since 2004 the NFL has only had a deal with EA Games which was reported at $300 million bringing to life the Madden NFL franchise.
NFL 2K was the opposite of Madden it was known for its arcade-style feel less of a simulation. The series was originally exclusive to Sega’s Dreamcast video game console due to the absence of EA Sports’s Madden NFL series on the system. As the foremost “2K” title, it marked the beginning of a running athletics series that eventually led to the spinning off of 2K’s sports publishing business under the name of 2K Sports. Although we have no dates or specifics yet, we expect new titles to launch sometime in 2121.
“We’re thrilled to be back in business with the NFL in a partnership that will span multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences,” David Ismailer, president of 2K, said. “It’s exciting to bring together 2K’s expertise in creating award-winning sports games with the NFL’s renowned status as a world-class entertainment and sports organization.”
“Expanding the NFL’s presence in the world of gaming has become a focus for the League as we look to grow the next generation of our fanbase and reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort,” said Joe Ruggiero, senior VP of consumer products at the NFL. “2K is a worldwide leader in sports video games, with a proven track record of creating best-in-class and award-winning games and we look forward to sharing more about the projects we are working on with them in the future.”
Take-Two just last year in 2019 signed a $1 billion deal with the NBA. NBA 2K has been killing it outselling the Madden NFL franchise for the 4th consecutive year.
EA Sports released the following statement on Tuesday 3/10/2020:
“EA SPORTS is the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games, and our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged. Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms. Our commitment to NFL fans, which spans almost 30 years, has never been stronger, and we’re having our biggest year yet. Madden NFL 20 is the most successful game ever in the franchise, and new modes like Superstar KO and our Madden NFL esports broadcasts are growing the fan base. We’ll be building on that momentum with more new and different experiences, on more platforms and with new ways to play, in the years to come.”
Sources familiar with the situation tell The Hollywood Reporter that EA’s deal expires at the end of the 2021 NFL season, in early 2022. Unsurprisingly, multiple parties have expressed interest in the rights and 2K and Take-Two’s new deal shows the company’s high interest in an expanded partnership.
We look forward to what 2K games will create following this blockbuster deal!