After a long and strenuous legal battle that ended early last year, NCAA student-athletes can finally profit off endorsements/likenesses etc.,The agreements are formally called NIL’s. Then came the announcement for a new NCAA sponsored/partnered video game. EA Sports “NCAA Football ’23” will be the first NCAA partnered video game to hit shelves since “NCAA Football ’14”. The “NCAA Football” series was a very hot ticket while it was on the shelves and in production. The game modes were ahead of it’s time, and in-depth.
Football wasn’t the only sport that the NCAA profited off of in video game form through the early-mid 2000’s. They also had baseball and basketball editions out there too. I myself indulged in all three at one point during my childhood. While all three were good in their own way. It makes more sense for them to bring back “NCAA Basketball” next, over “NCAA Baseball”.
College Basketball>College Baseball
Simply put, college basketball is more popular than College Baseball is these days. You never really see college baseball on National Networks like ESPN or FOX Sports. At least not as much as you do college basketball. So fans of the sport and fans of the video game know more Football than Baseball players. But that isn’t to say that college baseball isn’t entertaining or that there is not as high of talent coming through the ranks. It’s more the fact of the path of the respective next steps (The NBA and MLB).
In college basketball, you can have a 5-star recruit Freshman have an amazing season and be in the NBA lickety-split. While that same players not as highly touted/talented teammates stay for their sophomore seasons. On the opposite side, the path to the MLB isn’t as smooth. Most of your top picks are High School Players. Even the College Seniors that are picked, still start out in Rookie League or High/Double-A. It usually takes months, if not years, for a top baseball pick to see the Big Leagues. If they ever do.
Whereas, your top NBA pick(s) are playing immediately, some starting while others are on the bench. But they are still on the “big stage”. Usually the only exception to that are your international stash picks.
We all know how profitable College Football is for the NCAA, mainly Division-1 of course. The more popular schools like Clemson, Alabama and Georgia, get enough money from football to pay their coaches $10+ million per year. But College Basketball is very profitable as well. Those coaches make as much as $8.5 million a year or more.
Basketball also gets huge help from the yearly tournament to end the season coined “March Madness”. The NCAA made over $1 billion in 2021. More than three quarters of their profits came from “March Madness”. Of course TV deals are the main money maker.But if it weren’t for the talent on the court, the TV deals wouldn’t be as big as they are, if a thing at all.
We know that greed runs a lot of things in this world. So the above facts alone should make it worth it to put “NCAA Basketball 24” into production.