EA, NCAA Players Reach $40 Million Settlement

Attorneys representing student athletes who claim Electronic Arts illegally used their likenesses in the company’s popular NCAA Football, Basketball, and March Madness video games will receive nearly $1,000 per appearance in a game from EA. The settlement will amount to a total of around $40 million.

EA and the attorneys representing the student-athletes reached the settlement back in September 2013, but didn’t disclose the details until yesterday, when it filed a motion to approve the settlement. With as much as $951 for each year they were featured in a game, and as many as 100,000 current and former players student athletes appearing in EA sports games since 2003, the settlement could cost EA as much as $40 million.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the results of this settlement and the opportunity to right a huge wrong enacted by the NCAA and EA against these players and their rights of publicity,” said Steve W. Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and co-lead attorney. “We’ve fought against intense legal hurdles since filing this case in 2009 and to see this case come to fruition is a certain victory.”

If the settlement is approved by the court, it will mark the first time an NCAA commercial partner will pay student athletes.

EA and the NCAA ended their licensing deal last year, and while for a time EA continued making licensing deals with individual schools through the Collegiate Licensing Company, in September 2013 it announced it would not make another college football game for 2014.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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