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NFL licensing deals for Madden series haven't expired, says EA

Electronic Arts' licensing agreements for its Madden NFL series of football video games haven't expired, and the publisher plans to continue the franchise for the foreseeable future, said EA CEO Andrew Wilson during an investor call today.

"Contrary to some reports, we still have a number of years left on our agreements there," said Wilson, who was the head of the EA Sports label before ascending to the CEO position last September. "And the relationship that we have with both the NFL and the NFL Players Association continues to be extremely strong."

EA has two main licensing deals in place that make the Madden series possible. The publisher pays the NFL for everything related to the league's branding and its 32 teams, and has a separate deal with the NFL Players Association under which the names and likenesses of real NFL players appear in Madden. Media reports dating back to 2011 had indicated that after a one-year extension — reportedly granted due to the impending lockout that threatened to wipe out the forthcoming NFL season — EA's deals were set to expire at the end of 2013.

"[We] are currently in planning on the next Madden property right now, and we expect to make a number of Madden games in the future," added Wilson.

On the other hand, EA decided to cancel its 2014 college football game last September — just a few months after signing a new three-year licensing agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company for schools' branding — because the publisher was a defendant in a class-action lawsuit involving, among other considerations, its NCAA Football franchise. The same day, EA announced that it and the CLC had reached a settlement in that litigation with the athletes, later confirmed to be in the amount of $40 million.

EA Tiburon, based in Maitland, Fla., develops the Madden series and formerly made NCAA Football as well. The most recent Madden title was Madden NFL 25, which EA released in August 2013 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and in November on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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