How The Madden Game Franchise Could Reach More International Players

In a 2021 article posted here on PC gaming for football fans, we highlighted a few different options that are out there for lovers of the game. In doing so, however, we acknowledged the Madden franchise as the leader in the category and a series of titles that has all but monopolized football video gaming.

As dominant as the Madden franchise is, however, it has also remained a thoroughly American game. Sales data from the last few years (since the onset of COVID) is a little difficult to come by, but as of 2019, data at VGChartz indicated that in Madden NFL 19’s first week of sales, 73% of units were moved in the U.S. By comparison, Europe accounted for just 6% of buying activity (with the bulk occurring in Germany). This is not exactly surprising. As much as American football has spread around the world, it is still a distinctly U.S.-based game, and Madden concerns the NFL. Nevertheless, these sales numbers call an intriguing question to mind: How might the Madden franchise reach more players internationally?

We have a few fun ideas….

Invest In International Teams

The latest game in the FIFA franchise, FIFA 23, is believed to include 700 teams from more than 30 leagues worldwide. This makes perfect sense for the world’s biggest (non-American) football game and is even necessary to some degree to cover a truly global sport. American football is not such a sport, but it does have plenty of international teams and leagues, and the FIFA example demonstrates that it’s perfectly possible to build in content supporting some of those teams and leagues. We have our doubts as to whether EA Sports would take this step. Undoubtedly, however, including international American football teams in a future edition of the game would do a great deal to generate interest beyond the U.S.

License A Slot Game

This may be an even bigger stretch. With the idea of reaching an international audience of gamers in mind though, it’s worth thinking about one of the biggest gaming markets outside of America: that of online casinos. And already, popular online casino platforms carry games based on popular sports. Most of these involve regular football (aka “soccer”). Football Glory is one of the most widespread, and the Top Trumps Football Stars game at Gala Casino’s jackpot section might be the best-made. But there are slots based on other sports as well, from basketball to horse racing –– with even a few lesser-known American football examples sprinkled in. This is all to say there’s plenty of precedent for popular sports in online slots, and if EA Sports were to license the Madden branding to a slot developer, it might just have a hit on its hands. It would also reach untold thousands of international gamers with said branding and potentially generate non-U.S. interest in the core franchise.

… And A Slingo While They’re At It

It has begun to be the case for the last two or three years that some of the best online slot games are transformed into Slingo offerings as well. Slingo games draw on both slot and bingo fundamentals to provide hybrid activities for players and do just as well as slots when it comes to embracing popular themes. When it comes to the Madden concept, in fact, Slingo may even be the better fit. In theory, bingo cards could be filled out with the likenesses of NFL players as provided by EA Sports.

Hold International Esports Events

Aside from augmenting Madden titles and investing in adaptations, EA Sports could also expand interest by actively supporting more eSports competitions around the globe. This is not to say such events don’t exist as is. Already, organizations such as the British Esports Federation support Madden tournaments from time to time. For EA Sports and possibly even the NFL to put real weight behind the concept, however, would make an impact. More gamers around the world would be exposed to the Madden franchise.

Run Giveaways At International Games

Last but not least, EA Sports and the NFL could also organize giveaways at the NFL’s international games. These games, in and of themselves, are meant to help spread American football worldwide. And while they’ve historically been attended largely by Americans abroad, that may be changing. Last year, for instance, the pro football talk page at NBC Sports noted in anticipation of multiple sellouts in London that fewer Americans were attending compared to Brits. In other words, NFL games outside of the states are attracting international fans –– which gives EA Sports a fun opportunity to set up booths giving away Madden games to lucky winners. Simply making the game visible with a promotion like this would likely help to boost interest in cities and countries the NFL plays in during the coming years.

Ultimately, Madden games are plenty popular as is, and American football is growing worldwide without needing a boost from gaming. There is more to be done to spark interest in these awesome football video games internationally though, and doing so would only accelerate the spread of American football.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!