Full NFL Shutdown May Threaten Half of Madden SalesS

With the NFL and NFL Players Association trading punches over who should and shouldn't attend the league's draft in April, it's safe to assume a lockout will last at least that long. Now analysts are speculating on worst-case scenarios for Electronic Arts should a work stoppage eliminate the real-world season that helps drive so much interest in Madden NFL.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter, apparently the only one willing to hazard a guess on such things for the press, says as much as half of Madden's sales could be lost if a lockout cancels the entire NFL season.

"If the season is only delayed a week or two and fans aren't alienated, there would be only a very small impact," Pachter told The Hollywood Reporter. "If delayed through Thanksgiving, the impact would be far greater."

I think that's an extreme worst case scenario, largely because it's predicated on a canceling an entire season, which just seems unthinkable.

Still, Electronic Arts' John Schappert, the company's chief operating officer, said it has planned internally on "the most conservative assumption, meaning no season."

One thing that does have a direct affect on Madden is how the draft will be handled without a collective bargaining agreement. Undrafted free agents cannot sign with a team until a new deal is in place. Undrafted free agents are a small but sometimes significant population of the Madden NFL roster. Teams also may only trade draft selections (or draft positions), but not actual NFL players, on draft day.

What's less clear is how free agents with professional service can be handled. My guess is they will go into the game's free agent pool, and may be assigned to any team by a user from there.

'Madden NFL 12' Sales Will Suffer With Players' Lockout [The Hollywood Reporter]