EA Sports made huge news earlier this year when they announced they were bringing back their college football video game franchise. No longer NCAA Football, EA Sports College Football would be the new title as they were partnering with CLC, not the NCAA, to get licensing to put schools in the game.
Until name, image, and likeness rules are figured out on a national level, the game would simply feature the schools and their official logos and uniforms, but the players in the game would be completely randomized and share no likeness to the actual teams on the field. That is the workaround initially to having the athletes likeness exploited without compensation, as it was in the old games, with EA hopeful to figure out a way to license that in as well in the same manner they do in pro leagues with the respective players unions. The announcement itself was vague about details, as it’s clear all of that is being worked out, and they didn’t even offer an expected release date for the game, which wasn’t a surprise given it’s still very early in the process.
On Wednesday, though, reporting emerged on that target release date as Matt Brown of the Extra Points newsletter filed an open records request and learned that CLC told its schools that the plan internally at EA Sports is to have the game come out in July 2023.
According to internal documentation from CLC that I obtained via Open Records request, the CLC told FBS institutions that EA Sports intends to release the new video game in “July of 2023”.
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownEP) March 11, 2021
The expectation was always that this would take some time to get off the ground, as few with realistic expectations thought this year or even next would see the debut of the game. Now we know the target is 2023, and as we’ve seen schools like Notre Dame withdraw until NIL legislation is in place, it seems likely that would be the case by then.