The news of a new European Super League has absolutely rocked the world of football. AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Tottenham Hotspurs have all announced their intentions to take part in this new competition, one competition that is unsanctioned by FIFA and UEFA, not to mention the various domestic leagues across Europe.
Players have spoken out, fan clubs from rival teams are united in their anger, and even government leaders have condemned the decision. While football fans do not yet know if or how this situation can be resolved over the coming days and week, we can already look ahead to the impact that a European Super League might have on football games.
Since EA’s ludicrously popular football series shares its name with the sport’s international governing body, they’re obviously in a bit of a sticky situation. FIFA is vehemently against the formation of the Super League – it’s not an officially sanctioned tournament, after all – and seems ready to do everything it can to prevent it from forming. FIFA, UEFA and various football associations have threatened to ban the clubs and their players from taking part in other competitions, including the World Cup.
For EA, they’re likely to have to toe this line if they wish to retain the exclusive rights to the FIFA branding on their video games and to be able to represent the various global sporting events that they organise. It would be a massive change, as some of the biggest and most popular teams in the current games would have no presence in FIFA games, nor would some of the sports most bankable of football stars. Then again, with PSG, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund’s star-studded line ups, others could step into the open space.
Arguably that latter point would have a bigger impact on EA’s bottom line. Would the engagement with FIFA Ultimate Team be quite so high if the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, Salah and Fernades are not available in the game? Will players be willing to spend as much money or invest as much time in a mode where some of the world’s biggest players are not available at all? EA will almost certainly have to side with FIFA as its official partner, but the company will be calculating its potential losses as well.
Then again, EA’s current license expires at the end of 2022. Perhaps this will improve their bargaining position?
eFootball PES 2022
For Konami, this could be the biggest opportunity since the PlayStation 2 era. The last few years has seen Konami striking individual deals with clubs that include Juventus, Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona – they’re 1/3rd of the way to a Super League of their own as it is! However, while they have rights to Series A and Ligue 1, they lost the rights to the UEFA Champions League a few years ago, leaving PES without a marquee competition.
Snapping up a license for the Super League would give them some of the biggest teams in the world right now, meaning that if fans around the world want to play with them, they would have to turn to PES going forward. It would really help to boost sales of PES in the markets across the Americas and Asia that the European Super League is targeting. It could be a real turning point for the series’ popularity, but with the possible risk of the handful of league deals that they have struck becoming more difficult to keep a hold of in future, depending on how strong the pushback is.
Football Manager 22
Football Manager is another game series with a tricky situation to navigate. It’s one of the most comprehensive football game simulations going, and includes licensed leagues and teams from around the world, but just like with PES, they do not have the FIFA and UEFA licences – the Champions League is the ‘European Champions Cup’. Football Manager has thrived on recreating the sport’s structure.
So, once more, there’s an opportunity here to gain a new licensed league, but also the danger of souring existing relationships. Miles Jacobsen of Sports Interactive has taken to Twitter to give some early thoughts, and has stated that it is too early to tell on how the Super League would impact future Football Manager games when future games get announced.
Am being asked a lot, both on Twitter & by the press, on how the proposed football changes affect FM
As I said last night, there is still a long way to go until any of this is sorted
And we haven't announced any future games
So will answer if/when we do announce future games :)
— Miles Jacobson 💙 (@milesSI) April 19, 2021
Well… maybe that should be if? Are Sports Interactive just going to say it’s not worth the hassle and pack it all in?
We are only at the start of this saga and there will be a lot of twists before we fully know how the Super League will impact football itself, let alone video games. How do you think future football games will be affected?