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EA football monopoly lawsuit settlement checks being sent out

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Participants in the class-action lawsuit alleging that Electronic Arts created a monopoly for football video games are finally starting to receive payouts from EA's settlement fund, according to reports from NeoGAF users.

EA came to an out-of-court settlement with the plaintiffs in Pecover v. Electronic Arts in July 2012, and agreed to pay $27 million into a fund that would be allocated to lawyers' fees and the class-action claimants in the case. The payouts were held up by appeals this past summer, but a federal court in California dismissed them, allowing the settlement checks to go out this fall.

Those who filed a verifiable claim by May 15 of this year will receive $20.37 per copy of a Madden NFL, NCAA Football or Arena Football game they bought on GameCube, PlayStation 2, Windows PC or Xbox, and $5.85 per game purchased on PlayStation 3, Wii or Xbox 360. That's three times as much as the original amounts, since there were fewer claimants than expected. The settlement covers games in the three aforementioned franchises that were released between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 21, 2012 — for Madden, that's Madden NFL 06 through Madden NFL 12.

The lawsuit in question, Pecover v. EA, was originally filed in June 2008. The plaintiffs charged that EA, by securing an exclusive license for its Madden NFL football series in response to Sega dropping the price of ESPN NFL 2K5 to $19.99, imposed a monopoly on the market for football video games.

In its settlement, EA did not admit to any wrongdoing, and said it "does not agree in all respects with Plaintiffs' characterizations" of the facts at issue in the legal complaint. Under the terms of the deal, EA agreed not to sign exclusive licensing contracts with the Arena Football League or for the now-defunct NCAA Football series. The settlement did not affect EA's Madden franchise, for which EA's exclusive licensing agreement expires this year.

You can see a copy of the settlement agreement here.