Today in Court: Retired NFL Players Open Case involving Madden

The Associated Press reminds us that today is the opening of Adderley et al vs NFL Players, Inc.

As GamePolitics reported last month, the suit was brought by retired NFL players who believe that they have been denied royalties from a variety of licensing deals arranged by the NFLPA, the union for active players.

The biggest point of contention in the case is Electronic Arts’ best-selling Madden series. EA, however, is not a defendant in the lawsuit. From the AP report:

Retired players complain that, even though they signed licensing agreements with the NFLPA during a four-year period that ended in February 2007, they have earned little from the union’s lucrative contract with EA.

The $35 million annual contract is the union’s largest marketing deal, and the lawsuit is the latest salvo in the increasingly rancorous relationship between retirees and a union they say has given them short financial shrift…

In our previous coverage, GamePolitics carried excerpts of what the retired players view as smoking gun e-mails. An e-mail from PI exec Clay Walker discusses how Take-Two lost out in the deal. This would appear to refer to 2K Sports’ failed All-Pro Football 2K8, which used names and likenesses of former players:

Take Two… went after retired players to create an “NFL” style video game after we gave the exclusive to EA. I was able to forge this deal with [the Pro Football Hall of Fame] that provides them with $400K per year (which is significantly below market rate) in exchange for the HOF player rights. EA owes me a huge favor because that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football videogame manufacturer out there.

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