EA Sports / DAZN
EA Sports is adding the Uefa Women’s Champions League (UWCL) to its FIFA 23 video game and will become the global sponsor of DAZN’s live coverage of the competition as part of a US$11 investment into female soccer.
The knockout stages of this season’s UWCL will be added to the game in early 2023, while the publisher has also pledged to creating a women’s soccer internship programme with every female competition it partners with.
The addition of the UWCL builds on EA Sports’ growing commitment to the women’s game, which has seen it acquire licences, create new modes and update its game engine to include new animations that better reflect the movement of female players.
Women’s international soccer teams were first added in FIFA 17, with FIFA 23 the first to feature club sides thanks to licences with the English top-flight Women’s Super League (WSL) and the French Division 1 Feminine.
A post-launch update will add a fully licensed recreation of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while Chelsea and Australia forward Sam Kerr is the first ever woman to appear as a global cover star for the game.
“EA Sports is at the epicentre of global football fandom, and we recognise the role we have in representing and elevating diversity and participation in the sport,” said Andrea Hopelain, senior vice president of brand at EA Sports.
“Our commitment extends beyond the pitch in the virtual and real world. The Starting XI Fund reinforces our dedication to unrivalled authenticity and representation in our games, and also showcases our focus on being changemakers for the future of the sport.”
“We are delighted to see the Uefa Women’s Champions League being integrated into EA Sports FIFA 23,” added Nadine Kessler, chief of women’s football at Uefa.
“It feels like a natural fit for the world’s best women’s club competition to be part of the world’s leading football simulation game. This is another major step in the women’s game and an ideal additional platform for the female athletes contributing to its success.”
As ‘global broadcast partner’ for DAZN’s UWCL coverage, EA Sports’ advertising will appear across all broadcasts from the knockout stages onwards, coinciding with the update for FIFA 23.
DAZN is in the second season of its global multi-year deal with Uefa, which sees all 61 matches from the group stage through to the final broadcast live on its subscription platform, with selected matches shown on YouTube.
“What EA Sports is doing to advance the women’s game is game-changing, and we look forward to activating this new partnership to collectively reach and engage millions more fans around the globe, further tap into the commercial potential of the sport, and inspire the next generation along the way,” said Shay Segev, DAZN chief executive.
FIFA 23 is the final game in the series to be covered by EA Sports’ licence with world soccer’s governing body, with the ‘EA Sports FC’ branding being adopted from 2024. In preparation for the switch, EA is stepping up its marketing spend, sponsoring Sky Sports’ coverage of the Premier League in the UK and becoming title sponsor of Spain’s LaLiga from next season.
Research conducted by Footballco and Fuse suggests that 46 per cent of people who watched the Uefa European Women’s Championship this summer plan on watching more UWCL this season.