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EA Scores In College Football Lawsuit As Temporary Restraining Order Denied

  • On Friday, a federal judge denied The Brandr Group’s request for a temporary restraining order against EA.
  • It would have been the most likely way for the lawsuit to hold up the game’s summer 2024 release.
EA Sports wins court battle.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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Consumers hoping the EA Sports College Football game will come out on time — in the summer of 2024 — just got great news.

On Friday, a federal judge denied The Brandr Group’s request for a temporary restraining order against EA, which would have paved the way for the court to prohibit EA from doing business with schools and athletes at issue in the lawsuit. It was the most likely way for the lawsuit to hold up the game’s summer 2024 release.

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Front Office Sports broke the news of the lawsuit last week. 

The Brandr Group, which offers group licensing services to schools and athletes who choose to sign with them, claimed that EA had circumvented its rights to negotiate the group licensing deal on athletes’ behalf. 

The Brandr Group has contracts to negotiate group licensing deals with 54 schools that might be in the game, as well as an undisclosed number of athletes at these schools who have agreed to work with The Brandr Group.

While the lawsuit proceeds, The Brandr Group attempted to bar EA from working with any of the schools or athletes at issue in the lawsuit until it was settled. That could have delayed the game if the lawsuit were to stretch into the spring of 2024, when EA would decide on athlete eligibility for the game and start offering NIL deals.

But that attempt has been struck down.

“Plaintiff has not established that it actually has an exclusive right to either the schools’ IP or the students’ NILs,” the ruling stated. “What appears to be at stake here, then, is simply the possible monetary benefit that Plaintiff could receive from creating co-branding licensing opportunities that package a school’s IP and students’ NIL rights together. Plaintiff attempts to couch the loss of this co-branding opportunity as irreparable harm. But this too falls short.”

Other language in the decision appeared to suggest that the judge doesn’t find The Brandr Group’s initial complaint particularly persuasive. “It has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits, or serious questions going to the merits, of its claims,” the decision read.

The Brandr Group does not comment on matters of ongoing litigation.

EA did not have an updated statement but told FOS earlier this week: “As we said before, we believe the complaint does not have any merit, and this is no different. We’re incredibly excited to bring back college football in Summer 2024.”

While the lawsuit isn’t settled, it may not be a barrier to the game’s release now that the restraining order has been denied.

But the game is still embroiled in another controversy: how much players will be paid. With the help of group licensing company OneTeam Partners, EA has reportedly considered offering athletes just $500 each and no royalties — far below the industry standard, according to multiple groups.

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