We’re all familiar with video games involving computer-generated depictions of real-life athletes; they are a multi-billion dollar industry. Under pressure from consumers to make such games more and more realistic, software companies like Electronic Arts, Inc. have mined team rosters to allow gamers to field virtual versions of their favorite sports teams: a virtual Peyton Manning with the same height, weight, jersey and number, skill set and even facial features as the real Peyton Manning can be fielded alongside the rest of the virtual Denver Broncos®. The NFL Players Association receives roughly $35 million annually from EA to compensate NFL players for consumers’ ability to tackle a virtual Tom Brady with a virtual Terrell Suggs. Video games depicting college athletes and teams similarly utilize the likenesses and characteristics of those athletes. Unlike the pros, though, student athletes are not paid for this.
That is, until last week, when a class-action suit brought by several NCAA athletes settled against the last remaining defendant, the NCAA, for $20 million. Last week’s settlement followed a $40 million payout by EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co., the organization authorized to manage licensing rights on behalf of NCAA institutions. Read More