Litigation Support Expert Comments on NCAA Video Game Lawsuits

As GamePolitics has reported, former college athletes have filed a trio of lawsuits this year alleging that the NCAA and video game publisher Electronic Arts profited from the unlicensed use of their images in video games based on college football and basketball.

If successful, the suits have the potential to change the way the sports licensing game is played. What are the chances that will happen?

IGN has posted an interview with litigation support/public relations expert Jason Maloni, whose firm represents Roger Clemens, among others. Maloni comments on the implications of the lawsuits for the NCAA and EA:

Technology is a huge part of it. When I was growing up playing Space Invaders, you couldn’t be one of the characters in the game. But with sports games, it’s become such a huge phenomenon to assume the identity of your favorite athlete, and it only increases the bond people have with both the game and the team. That’s why the pro and collegiate ranks love this type of branding…


I expect the impact for EA Sports will be minimal. The company is still going to produce games and derive a profit. The NCAA and large institutions stand to lose a small part of their current revenue… however, they are making [money] hand over fist. I don’t think compensating these athletes in some way at the end of the day going to put a crimp in their budgets. College sports are a big business and it will remain a big business…

Like a lot of laws, it takes someone to stand up and say this isn’t right. You might also be seeing a growing sympathy for former athletes. Not everyone goes on to the pros or gets mega contracts. I think student athletes are seeing what former pro athletes have done recently seeking restitution against the NFL for the use of their images.

By "pro athletes," Maloni is referring to the recent $26.25 million settlement that a group of retired NFL players reached with the former union over the unlicensed use of their images in EA’s best-selling Madden franchise.

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  1. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Because the one side doesn’t exist of just spoiled rich folks. See, this is the problem, people don’t realize what this issue is about and just assume everyone who does a lawsuit for a lot of money is wrong and should shut up.

  2. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Seems to me like a bunch of spoiled rich folks on both sides of this issue squabbling about money.  Why isn’t it a reality TV show already?

  3. 0
    SpaceGhost2K says:

    I’m not saying they’re spoiled rich folk. I’m saying that they gave up their right to compensation when they signed as an amateur to go to the college and play football. The students CAN’T profit from the sales of the game or they would not be amateurs anymore. It’s the SCHOOLS and the National Collegiate Athletic ASSOCATION who are involved in the contract with EA. The schools make the money. The athletes benefit through exposure, not cold hard cash.

  4. 0
    SpaceGhost2K says:

    I don’t see why they should get compensation. They get scholarships. They are available for the draft. By playing for the NCAA, they stand to make significant salaries, not just if they go pro, but there are other sports and sportscasting jobs available to them because of the extra visibility they get as players.

    Do all of the students get a check when a game is televised? Of course not. And yet it’s their likenesses and their performances that are selling ALL of that commercial time.

    They are amateurs who signed an agreement with an organization. That organization has every right to market itself, and the students basically agreed to that when they agreed to play.

    When someone plays college football, they aren’t fighting for their own success as much as they are the success of their ol’ alma mater. If their team as a whole, and their likenesses as individuals contribute to the financial success of the NCAA and their own individual college… it’s total bullshit to say "Yeah, but what’s in it for me?" How about a free university education, ya schmucks?

  5. 0
    Magic says:

    Is it really going to be that much to EA? The end result will be a pay out and them attempting to be more careful with real athletes in their games in future.

    Didn’t I read that each Madden and FIFA makes a ridiculous amount of money (Hundreds of millions?)? That no doubt explains why it’s not hard to resist pumping out constant sequels…

  6. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    And still I do not understand why they can’t equally diviy out a % of what a title makes to the players, and set aside money to the student players until they get out of collage…. sirously…..someone needs to take the leagues to court because they are raping the players, oh and FYI not all players make millions a year.


    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

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