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New Liga sponsors EA Sports to ‘revolutionise’ Spanish football

US video games giant Electronic Arts will replace Spanish bank Santander as the title sponsor of La Liga from summer 2023, the league announced on Tuesday.

The sponsorship will be in the name of the company’s EA Sports division.

La Liga said in a statement that the deal would yield more than just increased revenue.

“Starting with the 23/24 season, the new agreement lays the foundations to revolutionize the football experience, seeks the integration of the physical and virtual worlds, involves improvements in broadcasting and the commitment of both companies to grassroots football,” said La Liga on its website.

Spanish media reported that the agreement is for five years and will bring La Liga between 30 million and 40 million euros (30.6m-40.8m dollars) annually.

The deal with Santander, which began in 2016, will end after this season. It is worth 17 million euros a year.

For the last six years, the official name of the Spanish first division has been “LaLiga Santander”, and the second division has been “LaLiga Smartbank”, after a subsidiary of the bank.

“EA SPORTS represents the cutting edge of interactive football experiences, while La Liga spearheads football competitions around the world with unrivaled fan experiences on the pitch, in broadcast and digitally,” said Liga president Javier Tebas.

La Liga’s sponsorship revenue has grown from 50m euros in 2016-17 to 155m euros last season.

Over the same period, revenue from TV rights has almost doubled from 825m euros in 2016-2017 to 1,625m euros in 2021-2022.

California-based Electronic Arts and its EA Sports franchise are the publishers of the popular video game FIFA, although the company will end its long association with the governing body of world football in 2023 and rebrand the game EA Sports FC.

Liga giants Barcelona have also recently announced two deals with tech companies saying they would add to the football experience.

On Monday, Barcelona announced the sale of 24.5 percent of its media arm Barca Studios to internet company “to accelerate the club’s audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.”

In July, Barcelona welcomed Swedish music streaming company Spotify as shirt sponsor by tweeting: “We’re partnering with Spotify to bring football and music together like you’ve never seen before.”