EA Sports College Football will launch in 2024, not 2023, as many had expected, according to two letters obtained and posted by a sports business journalist on Tuesday morning.
The communications — a note from the Collegiate Licensing Company to its clients, and a draft news release from Electronic Arts confirming a 2024 launch window — were first reported by Matt Brown of the D1 Ticker college sports newsletter network.
News Brig has reached out to Electronic Arts representatives for comment. The publisher did not specify a launch date or window for EA Sports College Football when it first revealed the project in February 2021.
“While many expected 2023, EA Sports explains that this is necessary to ensure that their development team can build the best college game possible with the detail and the gameplay they are known for delivering to fans,” the CLC’s note said. Brown said the letter was sent to member universities’ athletic departments late Monday evening.
The CLC said it “hope[s] to be able to share the plan for athlete opt-ins very soon,” meaning the use of real-life college football players, under their names, images, and likenesses, and being paid for it. The NCAA in 2021 began allowing college athletes to reach these so-called NIL deals with sponsors without jeopardizing or losing their eligibility.
When EA Sports first announced the return of its college football series, the publisher said real-life players would not be part of the game. Later that summer, after the NCAA’s new policy on NIL compensation, EA said it would “explore the possibility” of including real players.
In the draft news release that Brown obtained, EA said it was “working to include college athletes in a meaningful way in the game, extending our commitment to authenticity as we create a level of college football immersion like never before.”
The rest of the draft news release highlighted the numerous “team runouts, mascots, cheerleaders, uniforms, historic school items, and more,” that are coming to EA Sports College Football. “Plus, the [development] team has been able to plug into onsite broadcast audio feeds for the first time, allowing them to capture live gameday crowd audio, and have started recording some of the most recognizable commentators in the sport for use in-game.”
The publisher concluded the draft announcement by saying, “EA Sports College Football will launch in Summer 2024.
“Building a game like this from the ground up is complex, and we want to get it right for you,” EA said.