Premier moved goalposts in football game deal - Eidos

Eidos marketing director Larry Sparks told ZDNet News yesterday that Eidos "have given the Premier League the red card" in a row over a proposed football computer game.

Commenting on the collapse of negotiations with the Premier League for a £10 million deal which was to give Eidos exclusive rights to all of the insignias, strips, and names of all of the players in football's Premiership, Sparks added: "For the amount of money they are asking, it wasn't a viable, commercial deal, so I think we were absolutely right to walk away from it."

Sparks denied that the firm simply blinked at the size of the investment required to secure the deal. "They continued to move the goalposts during negotiations. There were two key factors: one, was the inability for us to have the first options to re-sign the contract after the initial three-year period had been concluded; and more important than that, was their inability to guarantee to us that that they can actually protect the properties that they have, such as insignias, names etc. [Also] they wanted to be able to sub-license to other software companies, which takes out the exclusivity completely."

Gremlin PR executive Martin Bramhall said he believed other firms, including Gremlin, will now look at the Premier licence to see if they can secure a working deal where Eidos failed. But Sparks doubts it anyone can pull it off profitably. "I would find it very, very, difficult to believe that the Premier League can find a software publisher to actually buy into a deal with them on the basis that there is no guarantee as far as exclusivity is concerned, so I think they have got a very tough time ahead of them."

A spokesman for the Football Association denied that a deal to license the Premier League had totally collapsed, saying "negotiations are still continuing". He would not confirm however, that the continuing talks were with Eidos.