By Barry Janoff
February 1, 2013: EA Sports will ring in the 25th anniversary of its Madden NFL franchise with a multi-media marketing campaign, an alliance with ESPN and consumer activation across social media that sees the return of fans voting for the player who will appear on the historic cover.
The release this year will be called Madden NFL 25, taking the place of what would have been Madden NFL 14. The game, scheduled to hit retail on Aug. 27, will feature the third consecutive fan cover vote. Last year, Calvin 'Magatron' Johnson of the Detroit Lions beat out Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton for the honor.
To commemorate the franchise's silver anniversary, EA Sports said "the old school [would] take on the new school for the cover." A bracket of 32 all-time NFL greats will go head-to-head against one another, as will 32 modern NFL superstars, with the winners of each bracket facing off in the final round.
Among the first-year eligibles for the 25th anniversary cover are quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, each of whom just completed their rookie NFL seasons; as well as Coliin Kaepernick, who just completed his second NFL season, both with the San Francisco 49ers.
Among the players who will be part of the "Old School" crew are Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, John Elway, Michael Irvin and Cris Carter.
Since launching in 1988 as John Madden Football, the franchise has sold about 99 million units and generated more than $3.7 billion in net revenue, according to Electronic Arts.
“There’s no better way to celebrate and mark the culmination of 25 years of innovation than by naming this year’s game Madden NFL 25,” Cam Weber, GM-American Football for EA Sports, said in a statement “This year’s game will push the boundaries with gameplay and feature innovations that will lay a very strong foundation for the next 25 years of this storied franchise.”
Marketing support will include TV, print, in-store, Internet and such social media destinations as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Voting will start on March 11 at ESPN.com/MaddenVote.
For Madden NFL 13, people cast 20 million votes, with an oversized version of the cover with Megatron revealed during a special edition of SportsNation live from New York's Times Square.
"This year we’re posing the ultimate question of who’s more deserving: One of the NFL’s all-time greats or one of today’s hottest players?”
Among the players who have appeared on Madden NFL covers are Barry Sanders (Madden NFL 2000), Michael Vick (Madden NFL 04), Ray Lewis (Madden NFL 05), Brett Favre (Madden NFL 09), Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu (Madden NFL 10) and Drew Brees (Madden NFL 11).
The winner of the Madden NFL 25 voting will try to avoid the "Madden Curse," which has seen players either succumb to injury or sub-par seasons the year of their Madden NFL release.
Never the less, the Madden NFL cover is coveted by players, which this year will also include all-time legends.
According to Anthony Stevenson, senior director-marketing for EA Sports, “It’s great to be back with another year of the award-winning Madden NFL cover vote for a brand-new game that will be the deepest and most innovative in the history of the franchise. This year we’re posing the ultimate question of who’s more deserving: One of the NFL’s all-time greats or one of today’s hottest players?”