NHL, UFC Reach Multiyear Contract Renewals with EA Sports

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2020

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, stands on the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

EA Sports has renewed its deals with the NHL and UFC to continue producing video games for the respective leagues.

Brian Jennings, the NHL's chief brand officer and senior executive vice president, commented on Thursday's news:

"EA SPORTS NHL continues to introduce new fans to the sport through its realistic and entertaining approach to the game. The past eight months illustrates how EA is a critical extension to real-world sports, as fans turned to EA SPORTS NHL to play and watch hockey while we temporarily paused during the pandemic. Our shared approach for competitive gaming has enabled the League to create a touchpoint to younger fans who may experience the NHL for the first time through EA SPORTS NHL. Sustained connection that enhances fandom is what EA delivers and we look forward to continuing the incredible partnership."

Tracey Bleczinski, UFC's senior vice president of global consumer products, said EA Sports "has become a natural extension of UFC’s brand and an important way to engage with our fans."

Bleczinski added: "We've just launched our most successful game to date and EA keeps proving there's room to grow and introduce new fans to the sport. We're going to keep pushing the boundaries together and make incredible games that UFC fans love to play."

EA Sports has produced an annual NHL offering since NHL Hockey ahead of the 1991-92 season.

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NHL '94 is widely considered one of the greatest sports video games of all time, and EA capitalized on that nostalgia when it rolled out NHL '94 Rewind as part of NHL 21's release. The mode allows gamers to turn back the clock to the days of Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo with current rosters.

EA's history with UFC isn't as extensive, thanks in part to the promotion only becoming more mainstream in the mid-2000s.

UFC made its video game debut with THQ's UFC 2009 Undisputed. That series continued through 2012 before EA Sports purchased the licensing rights. EA Sports UFC hit shelves in 2014. EA Sports UFC 4 was released in August, with Jorge Masvidal and Israel Adesanya sharing the cover.