Electronic Arts Inc. and Vancouver Whitecaps FC have announced that EA Sports has become a Whitecaps FC Founding Partner and the club’s Official Video game Partner. The deal marks EA’s first partnership with a North American soccer club and places Whitecaps FC alongside world-class European clubs like Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, and Real Madrid CF, all current partners with EA Sports.
Through this relationship, EA Sports will showcase its FIFA Soccer video game franchise through Whitecaps FC, including signage, broadcast, and game applications. Similar to its work with European clubs, EA Sports will expand its current relationship with the Whitecaps to explore new ways to enhance its video game experience and create greater authenticity inside of its EA Sports FIFA Soccer products. In addition, EA Sports and Whitecaps FC are committed to working together in the months ahead to create and launch a program for youth development designed to support the growth of soccer locally and nationally.
According to internal EA sales data, the EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise has sold more than 100 million units thus far, and FIFA Soccer 11 is the best-selling sports video game in the world. Whitecaps FC and BC Place Stadium will be included in FIFA Soccer 12, enabling fans to play with the Whitecaps MLS team in their new home before the stadium is actually complete. In addition, a limited number of FIFA Soccer 12 games will be available in British Columbia in specially designed Whitecaps FC branding.
“We’re thrilled to join Whitecaps FC as a Founding Partner, as they enter into their inaugural season in MLS,” said EA Sports Vice President and General Manager of Soccer, Matt Bilbey. “EA Sports has a long history of supporting soccer clubs internationally, and with the success of MLS, it’s the perfect time to bring this support to North America at the club level. British Columbia has been home to the FIFA Soccer franchise for 18 years, and now more than 1,200 EA employees at our Burnaby studio, so we pledge our support to work with Whitecaps FC to develop soccer here in the province and inspire the youth that play this game.”
As Official Video game Partner of Whitecaps FC, EA Sports will have exclusive access to Whitecaps FC players to motion capture and turn into the life-like movement of the virtual players in future versions of EA’s FIFA Soccer games. The FIFA development team will also explore new ways to leverage MLS matches at BC Place to deliver improved authenticity in its games that match the complexity, finesse, and excitement of a real-world soccer match. EA Sports will also access players, staff, and its passionate fans to test early versions of its soccer products.
“Through innovative and interactive technology, EA Sports will bring football fans closer to the game than ever before,” said Paul Barber, chief executive officer, Whitecaps FC. “We are very pleased to welcome a global company with local roots on board—especially one of EA’s calibre—and we look forward to working together to build excitement for the launch of Major League Soccer in Vancouver.”