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NFL gives Madden game manufacturer a break for 2011


When faced with the prospect of no NFL football -- and, thus, no fantasy football -- for 2011, the next question from most fans is this: “There’ll still be Madden, right?”

The answer is yes. And the league recently gave the folks who hold a monopoly on NFL console video games a break for 2011, given the possibility of a work stoppage.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reported earlier this week that the NFL has reduced the fee to be paid by EA for 2011. In exchange, the two sides worked out a one-year extension of their contract, through 2013.

“For one of our core partners in a difficult environment, we say let’s look at this, and maybe it makes some sense to extend something out longer and give our partner some relief in the short term but gain something on the back end,” Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver told Kaplan.

The amount of the reduction, and the value of the extension, isn’t known. Kaplan points out that the Wall Street Journal reported last year that EA asked for a $30 million reduction.

EA, which has produced Madden football for more than 20 years, says it’s preparing for the worst-case scenario.

“In terms of the NFL, I can tell you that our base assumption going into the plan is a very conservative one,” Eric Brown, EA’s Chief Financial Officer, told Kaplan. "[W]e’ve baked in, at least in our thinking, the most conservative assumption, meaning no season. We’re optimistic it can be better than that and generate further upside.”

If it “generates further upside,” we’re guessing that EA will pay more money.

Meanwhile, the NFLPA has a separate deal with EA. It’s unknown whether that deal will be adjusted in any way. From the players’ perspective, there’s simply no reason to give anything back, especially since that money will be part of the lockout fund.

Bottom line? If there’s no football on Sundays this fall, you can just spend those 12 hours playing Madden.

Good luck selling that alternative to your wife and/or significant other.