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The latest development in a lawsuit by The Brandr Group against EA Sports could delay the release of the highly-anticipated College Football video game, according to legal experts monitoring the situation.

The Brandr Group, an agency that facilitates licensing deals for schools' and players' likenesses to appear in media, filed a request for a temporary restraining order that would stop EA from doing deals with schools and players at issue in the lawsuit.

If they win, Brandr could file for an injunction, which would keep EA from doing that until the lawsuit itself is settled.

Brandr believes that EA is trying to get around its contracts to do group licensing deals on behalf of schools and players. Brandr has negotiating rights for 54 schools that will likely appear in the game, in addition to players who have signed contracts with Brandr, the company said in documents.

EA agreed at first, but then decided to work with OneTeam Partners for group bargaining agreements instead, which inspired Brandr's lawsuit, asking the court to stop EA from doing any business with schools or players it represents, which could in turn cause a delay in the game's release.

For its part, EA has maintained it will still release the College Football video game in the summer of 2024, but if the court rules on behalf of Brandr, the process could be slowed in two important ways.

  1. If the suit and restraining order last into next spring, when players will be able to grant permission to be featured in the game, EA may not be allowed to work with players that Brandr represents
  2. If the court grants Brandr's restraining order, that would keep schools it represents from appearing in the game unless EA works with them only

And if EA Sports comes to the conclusion that it can't move forward with the game because it doesn't want to work with Brandr and their school and player clients, that may cause a delay in the game's release.

EA last issued its popular college football video game a decade ago, back in 2013, after which the company announced that it was discontinuing the game.

That decision followed a court ruling that forced EA Sports to pay compensation to athletes who had previously been included in the product but were not paid.

Then, after the creation of the new NIL rules two years ago, EA went public by announcing that the game would return at some point in the future.

That point in the future is getting closer with every day, but not before EA can figure out the obstacles in front of the process right now.

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