FIFA 23 won’t have the NWSl but will include Ted Lasso and fictitious AFC Richmond squad from the self titled comedy series “Ted Lasso”. Players will be able to manage Lasso’s club in all modes when the soccer simulation video game launches globally. This has upset a lot of people (myself included) because a number of women’s leagues have not been added to the EA Sports franchise yet. FIFA 23 will include the FA Women’s Super League and the French Division 1 Féminine, but the big question that NWSL fans and fans of the USWMT want to know is will the NWSL be apart of EA Sports FC in 2024?
How does a league appear in FIFA?
If a league wants to appear in FIFA they have to license their rights to EA Sports. This is known as sports licensing. The term “sports licensing” refers to contracts made between leagues, teams, individual athletes, and the manufacturers of products. Most leagues, teams, and professional athletes in the world use partnerships and agreements to generate revenue for themselves by lending their names to manufacturers for various merchandise.
Market research for price valuations is quite important in sports licensing. Fans are invited to focus groups where industry professionals learn about their opinions of the team and its players. Then they show the participants various things, such as fresh logo designs, apparel, and advertising posters, and they ask the participants what they think about those products. Market research professionals also keep up with what other leagues and teams have recently done, the volume of sales of related items, and how league and team success has affected sales.
EA Sports and licensing women’s soccer
FIFA 16 was the first time EA introduced women’s football into the series. However, there weren’t many international teams in their first attempt. FIFA 22 increased the number of women’s international squads available to 17 and FIFA 23 will have the Women’s World Cup mode. There’s also the ability for users to create female players in the Pro Clubs mode for the first time. However, due to the lack of representation of various women’s leagues and club tournaments, there have been complaints that it was mainly a PR stunt.
Women’s soccer has exponentially increased in popularity both in the US and internationally, with the women’s Euro 2022 championships setting all types of records for attendance and viewership. EA Sports promises to share more information on the women’s soccer front in the upcoming months, including when new leagues will be added. Behind the scenes looks show women being motion captured using the new Hypermotion 2 technology, but that doesn’t correlate to EA Sports spending more money on licensing more women’s leagues across the world.
Will EA Sports FC have the NWSL?
As the ecosystem around women’s sports develop, video games are going to be a large component of mainstreaming women’s soccer and women’s basketball in the US. Publishers other than Electronic Arts are aware of the growing importance of women’s sports. Earlier this month, 2K Games unveiled NBA 2K23 WNBA Edition, a new installment of its NBA 2K series that focuses on the women’s game, while Sports Interactive is now adding women’s leagues to its popular Football Manager franchise.
EA Sports has the money to license the NWSL at any time, and the earlier they do it more than likely the cheaper it will be. Investments in women’s soccer is driving franchise valuations higher every year meaning the cost to license the NWSL should be increasing every year also. Maybe there are insider reasons that have yet to come out about why the NWSL hasn’t licensed their brand to EA Sports but NWSL should be apart EA Sports FC in 2024.
For more opinion articles, click here.