NFL, Union Strike Deal with Madden Video Game Series Through 2026


Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes

“Madden” is guaranteed to be around through the 2026 NFL season.

The NFL and its players’ union agreed to a five-year extension of its deal with video game maker Electronic Arts on Thursday.

Sources say the deal is worth at least $1 billion to the NFL and $500 million to the players. The deal also includes at least $500 million in marketing commitments over the years.

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The Madden game has sold more than 130 million copies since it started in 1989, making it one of two sports games — the other being Electronic Arts’ FIFA game — to sell more than 100 million copies.

It is not known how much John Madden, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 as coach of the Super Bowl XI winning Raiders, made as part of the deal. His endorsement came as a result as his work as a broadcaster, which spanned 30 years.

Just like a 17-year-old could not have seen Michael Jordan play live and might think of him as a shoe brand, an 11-year-old hasn’t even seen John Madden as the color commentator of a football game and might see him only as video game brand.

“I remember making a statement that I wanted the game to look like it looks on television,” Madden told ESPN in 2002. “And then there was a whole, 360-degree turn where television started doing the animation to make it look like the game.”

One thing might change EA’s dominance of the pro football video game market. The NFL recently signed a deal with their competitor 2K.

A non-simulation NFL game is expected to debut in 2021, though it won’t be a direct competitor to Madden like 2K’s franchise was in the early 2000s.

EA has had the NFL exclusive for simulation games since 2005, and it will continue as the only show in town. 2K might produce an arcade-style game like NBA 2K Playgrounds 2.

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Over the years, the public has had fun with the “Madden” cover curse, which suggests that players who appear on the cover are more likely to get hurt.

Those who got hurt in seasons they were on the cover include Marshall Faulk, Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick, Vince Young and Shaun Alexander.

The theory miserably failed last year as its cover athlete, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, won the Super Bowl.

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