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EA locks in the NFL

In December 2004, Electronic Arts and the NFL surprised everyone by announcing an exclusivity deal, making the Madden franchise the only videogame that could use NFL teams and players. It was a move that squashed growing competition from Take-Two Interactive Software and, at its core, essentially guaranteed no other company would ever come close to EA on the electronic gridiron again. (The cost of creating lifelike models of characters and stadiums — as well as hiring a development team to create a great game — would be prohibitive.) Last year, EA extended the license through 2013.

Photo: EA