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Brandr Group Drops Lawsuit Against EA Sports Over College Football Video Game

  • An NIL group licensing company alleged that EA was circumventing its agreement with dozens of Division I schools.
  • The lawsuit highlighted the issue of authority over group licensing deals in the absence of a players’ union.
The Brandr Group has agreed to drop its lawsuit against EA Sports over its college football game.
Aaron E. Martinez / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Brandr Group, a name, image, and likeness group licensing company, has agreed to drop its lawsuit against EA Sports over its college football game, it announced on Thursday.

Front Office Sports first reported news of the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in June. The Brandr Group alleged that EA was circumventing its agreement with dozens of Division I schools by offering group licensing deals directly to football players. EA had agreed to work with a different group licensing company, OneTeam Partners.

The lawsuit highlighted a major question in the college sports NIL landscape: In the absence of a players’ union, who has the authority to represent athletes in group licensing deals? 

“While Brandr remains confident in its position in the litigation and the enforceability of group licensing rights, Brandr has decided that it is in its best interest, and the best interest of its student-athletes, to stand down and monitor the progress of NCAA Football before determining whether further legal action is needed to protect its clients,” the company said in a statement.

The lawsuit was not expected to delay the launch of EA Sports College Football, which will come out in the summer of 2024, EA Sports confirmed on Thursday.

“We are pleased that BrandR has decided to withdraw their claims without any payment from EA,” an EA Sports spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve been clear from the beginning that this suit had no merit.”

The Brandr Group agreed to drop the suit on the heels of another settlement. It was engaged in litigation with OneTeam Partners, which it had previously been part of. 

While the two companies will join together again, they did say in a statement that they had agreed to operate in a way that “complements” both aspects of their business.

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