EA Plans to Settle $27 Million Lawsuit and Promise Not to Renew NCAA Exclusivity

EA has accepted a proposed $27 million settlement on a class action lawsuit filed in 2008. The basis of the lawsuit contends that EA violated antitrust laws by maintaining exclusivity contracts with the NFL, AFL and NCAA.

Although the proposed settlement will do nothing about EA’s NFL exclusivity, it does have an effect on EA’s other football games. The settlement, which has not yet been approved, will prevent EA from renewing its exclusive National Collegiate Athletic Association football license for five years (once it expires in 2014) as well as preventing EA from obtaining exclusive rights to the Arena Football League for five years.

The settlement would also require EA to pay money to people who have bought any Madden NFL, NCAA Football, or AFL games since 2005.

How much? Expect to get back about $7 for GameCube/PS2/Xbox games and $2 for Xbox 360/PS3/Wii games. It might not sound like a lot, but EA has to maintain a $27 million fund for this purpose.

Remember, this settlement isn’t final, but if it does come to pass, it could mean good things for AFL and NCAA football games in the future, if another developer should choose to jump in.

The settlement hearing will occur on September 27, 2012.

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