Bad news, sports fans: according to a report on Sports Business Journal, the NFL and Electronic Arts have signed a new deal, extending the publisher's monopoly over home console NFL games until at least 2013.

What's more, EA got the new deal at a reduced price, able to work out with the NFL that with the upcoming football season threatened by a lock-out, the rights for 2011 weren't worth as much as they used to be.

With EA's contract supposedly the NFL's most lucrative deal outside of TV rights, that's a big step by the NFL to secure one of its most important partners. But with sales of Madden to be impacted by a lockout - who wants to play a football video game if there's no football? - it's one that had to be taken.

"For one of our core partners in a difficult environment, we say let's look at this, and maybe it makes some sense to extend something out longer and give our partner some relief in the short term but gain something on the back end," says chairman of the NFL's business ventures committee Wayne Weaver, who is also the owner of the Jacksonsville Jaguars.

Those tortured fans of 2K's beloved ESPN series of football games, you may resume your vigil and hope for an end to EA's monopoly in 2013.


NFL gives EA a break [SBJ] (image: getty)