College Football 25 Video Game EA Sports Credit: EA Sports

As EA Sports prepares for the return of its highly anticipated college football series, one of the biggest questions about the video game has been how will players be compensated for their participation in it?

We now know the answer.

According to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, players who opt in to be included in the game will receive $600, as well as a copy of the College Football 25 game, which is expected to retail at $70. Some players — as well as men’s and women’s college athletes from other sports — will also be eligible to receive additional compensation as ambassadors for the game.

Players who opt in to be included in this year’s game will also be included in future editions of the series throughout the remainder of their collegiate careers and will be paid on an annual basis for their participation, although they will also have the ability to opt out if they no longer want to be included. Players who choose not to opt in will be replaced by a generic character in the game, similar to how Barry Bonds and Michael Jordan were represented in video games during their respective playing careers.

The opt in process for players is now open.

“We feel very proud that we’ll be the largest program, likely the highest-spending program,” Sean O’Brien, EA Sports’ vice president of business development, told ESPN. “And really an inclusive opportunity with an equitable distribution of funds across the board.”

The return of EA Sports’ college football franchise comes 11 years after the most recent iteration of the series, NCAA Football 14. Despite its popularity, EA Sports ceased production of the franchise following Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, which alleged that video game manufacturer used his likeness without his permission.

While previous iterations of the game featured thinly veiled versions of real-life players — for example, Caleb Williams would have been “QB #13” on USC with a similar appearance and skillset as his real life counterpart — name, image and likeness regulations have opened the door for “real” players to be featured in the game and compensated for doing so. Last week, EA Sports released its first teaser trailer for College Football 25, with a full reveal of the game coming in May before it’s released in the summer.


About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.