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The NHL and NHLPA clash again


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Earlier this year, the NHL Players' Association agreed to give Electronic Arts exclusive third-party rights to player's names to the tune of $44.2 million over the course of six years. However, according to EA's official hockey website EAHockey.com, the league will not see a penny of that revenue, which upsets NHL executives.

 

The NHL, however, owns the rights to all league and team trademarks. To counteract the union's move, the league refused to extend EA's license until NHL 2K publisher Take-Two was allowed to use NHLPA properties. In addition, the league is attempting to extend their agreement with Take-Two, which is set to expire after this season.

 

?The best thing for me to say is we?re currently in negotiations with the [NHL] Players? Association,? said Steve Glickstein, VP of licensing at Take-Two. ?The more people competing in the space, the better the games are. When you look at certain deals that are exclusive out there, the quality of game tends to come down.?

 

If new NHL games were released under the current circumstances, EA's franchise would have an accurate roster of true-to-life players, but sans all league and team trademarks. Take-Two's would be just the opposite; not an ideal situation for fans of either game.

 

The league and the NHLPA apparently will be able to reach an agreement soon, according to Brian Jennings, group VP of consumer products marketing for NHL Enterprises.

 

?We remain confident we will have a video game category that will have multiple partners supplying software to the new consoles. We feel pretty confident we have basically reached in-principal understandings.?

 

However, NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin said that in order for Take-Two to be included in the deal, "there would have to be adjustments made."

 

The exclusivity agreements would not affect first-party NHL titles, so fans of Sony's Gretzky '06 (GameRankings: 61%) needn't worry.

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