Is Electronic Arts the Real World Cup Winner?

Sales of its FIFA series have grown in North America as the American men's team has done better in the global competition.

Jul 5, 2014 at 8:07AM

The media has endlessly debated how the strong run by the U.S. team at the 2014 World Cup might impact the future of soccer in the United States. 

But there has already been one clear winner of the increased focus on soccer here in the U.S. -- Electronic Arts  (NASDAQ:EA), which makes the FIFA series of soccer video games.

How important is FIFA to EA?
In its most recent earnings call, EA's CEO Andrew Wilson said he expects the company to bring in just more than $4 billion in revenue in 2014. 

FIFA is EA Sport's best-selling title, accounting for $1 billion annually -- nearly 25% of the company's total revenue, USA Today reported.

Wilson was excited about how the World Cup would help the game. "Global excitement for this summer's World Cup is heating up, and we have just launched FIFA World Cup 14," he said. "We have included all 203 FIFA-sanctioned national teams, as well as 21 stadiums and 11 game modes in the most immersive version of our tournament game, ever."

FIFA 14 has been a stronger seller globally than it has in the United States. Those numbers do not reflect the copies of the game that have sold since the World Cup began. 

The sales totals for the current title may be smaller in the U.S. than they are globally, but over the last few years, FIFA, which is updated annually, has sold a lot of games in the States and likely created a lot of American soccer fans. Across the four gaming console platforms, FIFA 14 had already sold nearly 2 million copies before the Cup began, according to VGChartz.  

ConsoleUnits Sold
Xbox 360 780,000
PlayStation 3 630,000
Xbox One  290
PlayStation 4 410,000
Total: 1,820,290

In addition to those 1.8 million copies the 2013 edition of the game sold over 1 million copies for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 and another million on Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4. That's millions of Americans (and their friends) not only learning the rules of soccer from the videogame but millions of people exposed to the international game in advance of the World Cup. 

As of July 2, FIFA 14 was ranked by Amazon as the No. 18 best-selling Xbox 360 title, the No. 5 PlayStation 3 game, the No. 8 Xbox One title, and the No. 4 best-seller for PS4 -- despite the game having been out since November.

EA should thank FIFA, and FIFA should thank EA
Although the FIFA game has been around for almost 10 years, its popularity -- especially in the United States -- began to rise dramatically during the 2010 World Cup, where the American men managed to reach the knockout round, losing in the first game.

"We saw a huge influx of fans coming in from World Cup product," EA's Nick Channon, told USA Today.

Once the players are hooked, Channon said, many FIFA gamers start watching the English Premier League's weekly matches to keep up with their favorite footballers.

This has led to younger Americans not only understanding the rules of the game but appreciating its subtlety. That has made the World Cup more appealing beyond simply rooting for the American team.

Some 14% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 said professional soccer was their favorite sport, second only to the NFL, sports researcher Rich Luker told The New York Times

So, the World Cup brought EA its initial North American audience for FIFA, and the game company repaid the favor by creating a new generation of well-informed young American soccer fans. FIFA, of course, also gets a cut of the proceeds from sales of the game, so the soccer federation is a double winner here.

This is really good for EA
Games are fast becoming like movies, where the amount of money spent on a top-tier release is so high that franchises and sequels that bring predictable returns are incredibly valued. With its global popularity, FIFA has become as close to a sure thing for EA each year as possible.

The 2014 World Cup should take the game to greater heights, which should make the 2018 World Cup an even bigger deal in the United States. With the video game serving as an ambassador and teaching tool for the sport, it's possible that the game could be a catalyst to making soccer a major sport in America.

Leaked: This coming consumer device can change everything
Imagine the multi-billion dollar sales potential behind a product that can revolutionize the way the world shops and interacts with its favorite brands every day. Now picture one small, under-the radar company at the epicenter of this revolution that makes this all possible. And its stock price has nearly an unlimited runway ahead for early, in-the-know investors. To be one of them and hop aboard this stock before it takes off, just click here.  

Daniel Kline is long Microsoft. He played high school soccer (badly). The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers