NEWS - Monday, April 13, 2009

EA Sports seeks brand parity with Nike and ESPN

Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, has told the MI6 marketing conference that he is set on transforming his label into a leading sports entertainment brand that will be uttered alongside Nike and ESPN by sports fans. But instead of providing apparel or commentary, EA Sports delivers "personal access to the emotion of sports."

It’s a vision that is part of the rebuilding of EA Sports which Moore has spearheaded since he joined Electronic Arts in 2007. Thanks to the changing face of gaming, he said, there is an opportunity for the brand to seep into every facet of a sports fan’s life.

That’s why EA has invested in the Virtual Playbook (technology ESPN uses to explain plays to viewers), lifestyle sports games like Grand Slam Tennis, it is exploring free-to-play games and Asia, and it is taking a crack at the fitness genre with EA Sports Active.

To turn EA Sports into a household brand, Moore acknowledged that it needs to start talking to a different consumer and induct them into the ’EA Sports Nation.’ That includes talking to consumers in a different way. EA Sports is embracing social media: its developers blog about their work days and shoot videos with Flip Mino cameras, they respond to YouTube advertisements, and in general are seeking out direct communication with fans.

He went on to underline that the company mustn’t lose the core consumer, but at the same time it needs to reach out to new demographics and admitted that right now, lifestyle games - in the Wii Sports category - are not something the company is very good with.

Electronic Arts was uncomfortable when it jumped into EA Sports Active, he said, adding: "We drip with testosterone," - but if it wants to evolve the brand, the company needs to embrace the changing market.

The MI6 Conference was a one-day event taking place in San Francisco and looking specifically at the marketing of videogames.



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