EA’s Weird New Product Line: Sporting Equipment


Electrionic Arts (ERTS) is diversifying out of video game publishing and into… children’s sporting equipment?

Apparently so. The company’s EA Sports division is in a deal with Toy Island to develop a line of branded sporting equipment, like footballs, basketballs, and hockey equipment, for kids.

“These youth training aids will utilise technologies such as infrared, motion and equilibrium sensors to bring baseball, football, basketball and hockey to life in a whole new way,” EA says. The new toys don’t interact with gaming consoles like the PS3 or Xbox at all.

Here’s our theory to explain this weird move into an area EA has no experience with: We have fond memories of growing up with “Nerf” footballs and the like. If EA can get today’s 7 year olds to have the same association with an “EA Sports kid’s football,” then maybe when that kid grows up they’ll gravitate towards EA’s Madden NFL franchise — and not one of EA’s competitors in the hotly competitve sports video game market.

EA needs to do something. The EA Sports franchise has been losing market share every year since 2003.

So long as EA isn’t spending too much money on this plan, it’s worth a shot. (Terms of EA’s deal with Toy Island weren’t disclosed.) Plus, there’s on added bonus: Every few years or so a campaign starts up holding video games responsible for everything from childhood obesity to school shootings. From here on out, EA has a response its peers lack: Hey, we also promote good, healthy, outdoor sports.