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From the Arena to the Pasture

EA has decided it has one exclusive football license too many. Can you guess which one got the boot?

NOT MADDEN
NOT MADDEN
For all the drama and incensed indignation that was sparked on the internet by EA's exclusive deal with the NFL, people got decidedly less worked up about EA's similar arrangement with the Arena Football League. For those few AFL fans who really wish Visual Concepts had gotten a crack at their beloved league, guess what! According to the Sports Business Journal, EA has declined to renew its agreement with the AFL, putting the license back up for grabs. Apparently the two Madden-ish AFL games that EA managed to squeeze out over the course of the three-year deal didn't really pan out that favorably.

Considering the relatively niche appeal of the league against the reliably top-selling NFL, plus the AFL video-game track record which includes the similarly derivative and regrettable Kurt Warner's Arena League Unleashed, it's not terribly surprising that Arena League games weren't flying off the shelves. Which--speaking as someone whose interest in pro sports borders on pathologically ambivalent--is a bit of a shame, because Arena League football is kind of awesome. I've (somehow) been to an AFL game, and the faster-paced action made it seem to me like perfect video-game fodder. But, as has been proven time and again, if your football game doesn't say Madden on the front, you've got a tough sell.

My apologies to our international readers for this story about the intricacies of a sport you couldn't care less about. As consolation, I offer you this video of an insane Russian soccer riot occurring hundreds of miles away from the game itself.