For millions of football fans, “FIFA” refers not to the sport’s international governing body, but to their favorite video game.
The connection was formed 30 years ago, when California-based Electronic Arts licensed the name of Zurich-headquartered FIFA. The game is now played by 100 million people worldwide, has become a multibillion-dollar business, and is a cultural phenomenon.
Despite the long and profitable association, the two sides are in a bitter dispute over the value of the FIFA name. “We are not certain that we will move forward with FIFA as a naming rights partner,” David Jackson, a senior executive who runs EA’s football brand, told the Financial Times.