Electronic Arts Gains on Plan to Restore College-Football Game

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Electronic Arts Inc. shares gained the most in almost two weeks after the company announced plans to bring back its college-football video game, a fan favorite that disappeared in 2014.

The company is working with collegiate-trademark firm CLC on the project, but an actual game is years away. Electronic Arts didn’t announce specific timing for the debut in a statement Tuesday.

Electronic Arts’ previous college-football games sold tens of millions of copies between 2005 and 2014, and the company says customers have been pleading for their return.

“We’ve heard from the millions of passionate fans,” said Cam Weber, general manager of EA Sports. “We have a lot of really exciting work ahead of us, and a great team that is eager to bring a new game to players in the next couple of years.”

The shares climbed as much as 3% to $150.30 on the news, marking the biggest intraday jump since Jan. 20. The stock, now nearing a record high, had been up 1.6% this year through Monday’s close.

Electronic Arts had stopped selling the game after agreeing to pay $40 million in 2013 to settle a lawsuit by former college athletes over use of their images in video games. The National Collegiate Athletic Association and some regional athletic conferences also withdrew their support for the game.

Electronic Arts is now proceeding back into the genre carefully. The partnership with CLC gives it the rights to more than 100 college brands, including logos, stadiums and uniforms. But the games won’t include the names or likenesses of athletes.

Student-athletes have continued to fight for the right to profit from the use of their names and images, but the issue has been mired in lawsuits. “EA Sports is continuing to watch those developments closely,” the Redwood City, California-based company said in its statement.

Electronic Arts, which also makes the Madden NFL games and Apex Legends, will report its quarterly results later on Tuesday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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