Latest Updates on EA Sports College Football 25 Release

Last Updated on May 22, 2024

We update this post as more details become available.

Anticipation continues to build regarding an expected release date for the return of EA Sports’ NCAA Football video game. Rumors have begun circulating, but are any of them true?

When is the EA Sports NCAA Football game returning?

EA Sports announced in mid-May that College Football 25 would be released on July 19. A day later, the company dropped its Official Reveal Trailer.

The game’s official cover was also released, featuring Texas QB Quinn Ewers, Michigan running back Donovan Edwards, and Colorado WR/DB Travis Hunter, among others. It was announced that there would be three editions available for purchase, including a standard edition priced at $69.99, a deluxe edition (including three-day early access among other in-game perks) priced at $99.99, and an MVP Bundle that also includes an early release to Madden NFL 25.

Back in February, fans got their first teaser of the game from EA Sports. The video depicted a narrator creating a jersey that read “Yeah, it’s really happening” on the back. The teaser also included mockups of Penn St., Oklahoma, Florida, Notre Dame, and Alabama.

While fans were expecting to learn more in early January regarding the release of the game, the lack of public information is not uncommon in the realm of sports video game releases. Other developers of AAA sports titles such as Madden, NBA2K, and MLB The Show do not typically release specific details of the game or trailers six months away from release dates. The amount of information that fans already have, from pen records laws and school-based communication, is very uncommon.

There has also been voiced concerns from fans that the NCAA title could be a “Madden reskin”. The game is being developed with their Frostbite Engine, which is commonly used for other games such as NHL, PGA, and Madden. Fans have previously reported some gameplay mechanic concerns in Madden, and many have hopes that the same frustrations are not experienced in the new game.

Brown’s conversations with the developer’s communications team lead him to believe that the upcoming game is not going to be a reskin. Though the game engine is the same, developers in charge of the design can alter animations and physics tools, differentiating between NCAA and NFL gameplay.

Who is Included?

The latest updates regarding EA Sports College Football 25 are buzzing around proposed NIL contracts being sent on Feb. 22 to over 11,000 FBS football players for their participation in the game. The contract is between the individual and EA Sports, not their respective institution. However, all FBS programs will be featured in the game.

An EA Sports spokesperson told Brown that FCS schools could potentially be featured in the game at a later date, but that no FCS schools have signed any licensing contracts yet. Brown was told that EA plans to “include every FBS team at launch.”

EA’s contract offer will extend to eligible scholarship football players on all 134 FBS teams for the upcoming season. With over 6 million dollars committed to paying these players for their digital likeness, EA could be producing the largest NIL brand activation in history. Over 10,000 athletes had opted into the game by early March 2024.

Learfield President of Brand Management & Marketing/Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) CEO Cory Moss joined SBJ’s Ben Portnoy to talk about CLC’s involvement with EA Sports College Football 25. Moss noted it’s up to the college athletes and CLC to verify rosters from year-to-year. College athletes can edit their own info with EA, and CLC double-checks the official rosters with each school and provides that info to EA.

“As you go into playing the college football video game in one year, you pick up the same game and play the next year, through a live update that new player is now on a different institution playing football. So there’s a lot of technology, automation that has to go into monitoring those transitions.”

On the behind-the-scenes work, Moss pointed out the assets have undergone significant changes since the game was last released.

“The TVs and the monitors that you were playing games on were a lot different 10 years ago. The software… the last game was probably on the PlayStation 2 platform and now we’re on PlayStation 5 and Xbox and everything else. If you think about the schools and their stadiums, their mascots, their traditions, some of those things change, but definitely the stadium has changed in the last 10 years. So, think about all of the assets and the pictures and the thousands and thousands of pictures of the stadiums that need to be recreated and then those have got to be spot on. Again, when you’re looking at the TVs and the 4K, high-def TVs compared to 10 years ago, people don’t want to see blurry stadiums, they don’t want to see blurry mascots. … You’re not taking a 2014 game and just updating it. You’re not taking a Madden game and turning it into college. You’re totally recreating a college football game with all the elements that college football looks like today that it didn’t look like 10 years ago.”

The Vice President of Business Development at EA Sports, Sean O’Brien, shared his excitement to ESPN.

“We feel very proud that we’ll be the largest program, likely the highest-spending program, and really an inclusive opportunity with an equitable distribution of funds across the board.”

While international students and students from the Army, Navy, and Air Force academies are prohibited from accepting NIL deals, EA is working towards finding a legally compliant way to compensate athletes who can be featured.

EA Sports has requested that athletes confirm their participation in the game before late April to ensure that developers have enough time to add all players to the game and to make sure the athletes get paid on time.

“There’s nothing been done on this scale that EA is doing, where every student-athlete that participates in the game is guaranteed revenue,” Moss said.

We also now know that Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, Kevin Connors, Desmond Howard, Jesse Palmer and David Pollack will all be working the digital broadcast booth in EA Sports College Football 25.

The Heisman Trophy has also announced that it will be featured in the game.

Who Has Opted Out?

The most high-profile athlete we know who has opted out of EA Sports College Football 25 is Texas quarterback Arch Manning.

Several major college football awards have opted out of inclusion in the game as well, including the Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback), Doak Walker Award (top running back), Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back), Outland Trophy (top interior lineman), Lou Groza Award (top kicker) and the Ray Guy Award (top punter).

Updates About the Contract

Every FBS athlete was offered a contract on February 22, 2024 for $600 (per year they’re an active college football athlete going forward) for the use of their name, image and likeness in the game. However, some are also being offered additional sums for marketing and promoting the game.

Our founder, attorney Kristi Dosh, broke down more of the contract for the EA Sports College Football game.

Why was the EA Sports NCAA Football game discontinued in 2013?

EA announced in 2013 that they would be discontinuing the game as a result of a lawsuit filed against the NCAA and the collegiate licensing company by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. Initially, the NCAA announced it wouldn’t renew its licensing contract with EA sports that year, and EA Sports planned to continue without the NCAA branding, but after three conferences pulled their licensing, EA Sports suspended production of the game.

Although the controversy over the game loomed large, the dollar amounts were not. Business of College Sports founder Kristi Dosh previously covered how much schools were making on the video game. Here are some examples from 2012-2013:

  • Louisville: “NCAA Football”: $85,845; “NCAA Basketball”: $26,594
  • UCLA: “NCAA Football”: $57,230; “NCAA Basketball”: $26,593
  • Clemson: “NCAA Football”: $85,845; “NCAA Basketball”: 18,616
  • Wisconsin: “NCAA Football”: $143,076; “NCAA Basketball”: $26,593
  • Texas A&M: “NCAA Football”: $57,000; “NCAA Basketball”: $18,615.80

The ways in which the money flows will look differently this time around, as athletes will need to be paid for the use of their NIL.

How will names, images and likenesses be used in the new EA Sports NCAA Football game?

This time around, EA can use real player names, image, and likeness rather than “randomized” player likeness. To help with the licenses and usage of player’s personal brands, EA has partnered with the group licensing company, One Team Partners. Receiving licenses for players from over 130 FBS programs that each have 85 scholarship players, is proving to be a major task.

EA communications told Matt Brown, “…our team expects to create more human likeness at one time than has ever been attempted in video game history.” There is no doubt that EA is working hard to develop EA College Football into the most authentic and accurate experience possible. 

An email obtained by Brown from an Open Records Request from an EA Sports Senior Manager to the licensing professionals at a Big 12 institution revealed that EA started asking for headshots of athletes who might opt into their game back in August 2023, in order to refine character features such as skin tone, eyes, and hair to most accurately depict an athlete’s image and likeness.

The email clarified that EA will only include a student-athletes likeness in the game if the student-athlete opts into a contract agreement with EA. If an athlete chooses not to opt into a contract agreement with EA, they will not feature them in the game to comply with NIL rules. 

College Football 25 is still set to be released summer of 2024, and from what little information is available, gamers can expect it to utilize the player’s name, image, and likeness more than has ever been attempted in video game history.

Athletes will each receive $600 each for their NIL, with no additional royalties and no opportunity to negotiate for additional cash.

Fans can rest assured that in just a matter of time, they will get to experience the comeback of a college football video game.

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