EA Paid NFL Players Union $35 Million in 2007

We always knew that EA’s Madden franchise was a cash cow, but we didn’t really appreciate the scale of the dollars involved.

Until now.

Despite winning a $28 million federal court judgment against the National Football League Players Association in November, militant NFL retirees continue to play offense against their former union. In fact, they’re digging up all sorts of dirt.

During the class-action trial last fall, GamePolitics reported on damning e-mails between EA execs and NFLPA officials which showed the Madden publisher and the union conspiring to keep a lid on payments to retired players.

Now, former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Dave Pear has posted the NFLPA’s 2007 LM-2, a financial report required by the U.S. Department of Labor. The numbers contained therein are eye-popping, particularly EA’s licensing payments to the NFLPA: $35,141,950.

Because the $35 million went to the player’s union, we assume that figure does not include EA’s licensing fees to the NFL for use of team names, logos, uniforms, stadiums and other data. We’d also guess that EA pays the league as much or more than the union for Madden licensing.

Big money, indeed.

For its part, the NFLPA is expected to appeal the $28 million verdict to a higher court.

GP: We should note that we do not at this point have any information on the number of years covered by the $35 million contained in the NFLPA’s LM-2. However, we strongly suspect that it is for a single year, since all of the payments listed occurred within a 12-month window between March 1, 2007 and February 14, 2008.

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