It’s been a busy week for international superstar Cristiano Ronaldo: the 32-year-old Portuguese player has led Real Madrid to trophies in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, smashed in an incredible 54 goals in his last 59 appearances for club and country, and reached his 600th career goal in the process. Suffice to say, Ronaldo is a rather hot ticket player, and the brand built around his career helps move product. As such, it’s a no-brainer that EA Sports would pick him as the cover athlete for FIFA 18, a move which market research firm SuperData says could increase sales of the game by 10%.
Historically, the FIFA franchise has secured the services of Ronaldo’s biggest competition, Lionel Messi, as its cover athlete. Last year, that contract expired and red-hot German international and World Cup winner Marco Reus was selected as the target man, but it’s fair to say he didn’t have a comparable following to either Messi or Ronaldo. Now, however, the ball is firmly in Ronaldo’s court, and as an athlete with a combined social media following 262 million people and a sponsorship with Nike worth 1 billion dollars, one feels like this is a logical move for EA Sports to take.
The CEO of SuperData, Joost van Dreunen, evidently agrees with this sentiment. The veteran analyst reports that sponsorships from professional athlete’s can have a significant impact in the game’s reach, and this equates to big money when it comes a franchise like FIFA. The series brought EA Sports just over a billion dollars in revenue last year, and the company will be hoping that putting such a celebrated and popular athlete on the cover will help boost these sales even further. Here’s how Joost van Dreunen weighed in on the subject:
“Depending on the popularity of a player, a famous athlete can help improve sales by about 10 percent. Suffice to say that signing an athlete is critical, especially because the audience for sports games tends to be more-or-less stable.”
As is the usual practice, members of EA Origin or EA Access will be able to test out FIFA 18 a week before other gamers, as their subscriptions will allow for up to 10 hours of playtime as of September 21, 2017. The full game will then release a week later, and that’s when Joost’s words will be put to the ultimate test.
Do you think having Cristiano Ronaldo as a cover athlete will help boost sales of FIFA 18, Ranters? Is there another athlete you think could do better?
FIFA 18 is poised to launch on September 29, 2017 on Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 – although the Nintendo Switch edition will be missing a few features.