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$40 million settlement with EA Sports ‘rights a huge wrong’

Matthew Edge AP

Even as the potentially game-changing O’Bannon lawsuit gets set to go to trial in a week or so, an agreement has been reached that will put (a little) money in the pockets of some current, but mostly former, college athletes.

As the Associated Press wrote Saturday, “[a] $40 million settlement has been completed that will pay college football and basketball players dating to 2003 for the use of their likenesses in NCAA-branded video games.” The settlement, however, does not include the NCAA and only involves video game maker Electronic Arts as well as Collegiate Licensing Company.

Back in September of 2013, EA Sports announced it was pulling the plug on the popular video game series featuring college football and men’s basketball.  The next day, the first reports of a settlement surfaced.

While $40 million seems like a significant amount of money, the fact that the pool of potential claimants could reach six figures dilutes the amount of payout on a per-person basis.

Depending on how many athletes apply for the settlement — a group that attorneys say could contain between 140,000 and 200,000 players who were on football and basketball rosters from 2003 on — the payments could range from as little as $48 for each year an athlete was on a roster to $951 for each year the image of an athlete was used in a video game.

Still, one of the lead attorneys for the players hailed the landmark settlement, which will mark the first time college athletes have been paid for the commercial use of their images..

“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 Berman. “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.”

The AP goes on to note that U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken still must approve the proposed settlement.

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18 Responses to “$40 million settlement with EA Sports ‘rights a huge wrong’”
  1. donovandancy says: Jun 1, 2014 1:20 PM

    The whole thing is crap. The lawsuit itself will help noone, simply because the amount players deserve from a game that even the schools make very little on is inconsequential, and they will get very little in this settlement because of that.

    The money grabbing short-sighted waste of flesh that started the lawsuit luckily will not get the payday he wanted. Sadly, the only people getting rich here will be the lawyers.

    As to the people most hurt, it will be the millions of fans who played the college video game every year, especially those who also supported and attended games, and provide the base for the sport being such a success that it is. For literally an inconsequential sum to both the players and EA, a game that millions of people enjoyed has been killed.

  2. motobus says: Jun 1, 2014 1:33 PM

    It couldn’t happen to a more deserving company (EA).

  3. bostonfrogs says: Jun 1, 2014 2:51 PM

    I hate EA Sports with a passion and have since the whole “NFL 2K5″ thing, but let’s get real here: those players absolutely LOVED seeing themselves featured in a video game played by millions, and for the guys who weren’t ever going to play pro ball, it was even cooler. You can debate whether or not they should be paid, but you completely lose me when you say that EA turning them into dorm/campus legends was somehow “wronging them”.

  4. seanb20124 says: Jun 1, 2014 3:08 PM

    Poor jocks can barely afford to eat ( Jameis Winston) how can they afford a game or a playstation system or a tv to play on.

  5. lew24 says: Jun 1, 2014 4:33 PM

    Exactly…O’Bannon has been irrelevant for years! EA hasn’t produced a basketball game in more than a decade. What likeness of his is being abused! Maybe this money he’s getting will help subsidize his car selling career!

  6. footballfan14 says: Jun 1, 2014 4:44 PM

    Thanks to those for ruining the game. A great American past time lost and future generations will not get to enjoy NCAA Football video games anymore.

    Usually I’m a month or so away from the release but instead no new game. Sad day has arrived and I don’t know of anyone who is benefiting except for attorneys here.

    Anyone forget to notice that the attorneys are definitely getting more than 900 or 48 bucks for their services? These players need to realize that when things like this happen the only real big winner is the attorneys.

  7. imaduffer says: Jun 1, 2014 8:01 PM

    @footballfan14,

    Yeah, nothing like sitting on your ass for hours on end, pushing little buttons and playing with your imaginary friends. Moms calling, supper is ready.

  8. slick1ru2 says: Jun 1, 2014 8:46 PM

    Pretty sure everyone saying they shouldn’t get any money are the same ones that would be the first in line for money in the same position.

    SMH on some of the comments.

    @imaduffer, what difference is that from sitting on the couch all weekend, drinking beer and watching football while cheering on your fake fantasy football team.

    @footballfan14 The NCAA ruined the game. They don’t allow student athletes to get payed. This is America where you have to be paid for your service or use of your likeness. If you don’t like capitalism, move.

    @donovandancy The game is 20 years old and has been the number 1 selling game in July for years. That’s the number 1 game out of all games totalling over $100 million in sales, for just that
    month. Its more money than you think, the games are $60/each.

    @b0st0nfrogs Who cares about your hatred? No one. The company sells enough games to be the #2 game company in the world with billions in sales. Yeah, the 2K games were nice, but EA surpassed them years ago. And it costs a lot to put a game out, 2K never got the money to make another run at a current season NFL game.

    The NCAA needs to go. Let players be payed. That will bring back college football games.

  9. sportsguy3434 says: Jun 1, 2014 9:07 PM

    Lawyers will probably get 40%. This settlement is about like the settlement in the Jerk. Third stringer who had a jersey number on the game, here is $49 minus expenses. Have a nice meal.

  10. imaduffer says: Jun 2, 2014 1:06 AM

    slick1ru2,

    Only watch college ball, SEC

    Do drink a cold one every now and then

    Salmon or Steelhead fishing on Sundays, weather permitting

  11. goodellisruiningtheleague says: Jun 2, 2014 9:16 AM

    @Slick1ru2

    for someone SMH at the comments you should be smh you keep spelling it “payed” not “Paid”

  12. donovandancy says: Jun 2, 2014 1:01 PM

    slick1ru2

    It’s nice to see that you are able to do made up math . . yet its even better to see that you fail to divide the royalty amount but he players who would share it, with a reasonable royalty take.

    It would be about 20 to 60 dollars a year per player, and that’s with an immense royalty percentage. As you show by your well biased rant against the NCAA, you aren’t even logically approaching this anyway.

  13. tcopelin says: Jun 2, 2014 5:40 PM

    What I am thinking is that these players that want to get paid now were the first ones buying the game so they could play as “themselves”back in the day. All they want is easy money and nothing else. Thanks for ruining a couple of great games for the rest of us.

  14. slick1ru2 says: Jun 2, 2014 11:47 PM

    @goodellisruiningtheleague

    What’s your rank in the Spelling Police Dept?

  15. bornahawker says: Jun 3, 2014 12:59 AM

    Drop in the bucket. Slave labor is rampant all over this shitty country. American dream is dead. Go to any city and it is evident. Lawmakers and lawyers fleeced this so called free country. Pack your shit, it’s over

  16. unfortunatelyabillsfan says: Jun 3, 2014 9:30 AM

    As a D-1A football player from 2007-2010, I did enjoy seeing myself in a game. I did always hate the fact that I didn’t receive anything for it. Hell, a free copy of the game would’ve been enough for me. Glad to see I’ll be getting a little something for it!

    I’m rich now!!!! (Sarcasm)

  17. unfortunatelyabillsfan says: Jun 3, 2014 9:36 AM

    And before everyone gets their underwear in a bunch….I am upset the game isn’t made anymore.

  18. judsonjr says: Jun 3, 2014 6:07 PM

    Attorneys supposedly spent 30 million to get a 40 million settlement. Sounds like the players being used again.

    To me this suit was moronic from the start. NCAA video games are a tiny market (they sell about 1.5 million units). If it was 1.5 million sales going right to EA, then maybe. However, you have Sony and Microsoft taking their cut, game development costs, retailers taking their cut, and the NCAA getting their cut.

    Now take the little bit that’s left, set up a royalty and split it between several thousand players and they might get a couple hundred dollars.

    To me this seems like it was a sue first, figure out if it’s worthwhile later suit.

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