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EA has reached a $40 million settlement with NCAA players

College football and basketball players have finalized a $40 million settlement with a video game manufacturer and the NCAA’s licensing arm for improperly using the likenesses of athletes, leaving the NCAA alone to defend itself in the upcoming Ed O’Bannon antitrust trial. Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed the settlement agreement with a federal court in Oakland, California, on Friday night in an action that could deliver up to $4,000 to as many as 100,000 current and former athletes who appeared in EA Sports basketball and football video games since 2003.

Attorneys representing student athletes who claim Electronic Arts illegally used their likenesses in the company’s popular NCAA Football, Basketball, and March Madness video games will receive nearly $1,000 per appearance in a game from EA. The settlement will amount to a total of around $40 million. EA and the attorneys representing the student-athletes reached the settlement back in September 2013, but didn’t disclose the details until yesterday, when it filed a motion to approve the settlement. With as much as $951 for each year they were featured in a game, and as many as 100,000 current and former players student athletes appearing in EA sports games since 2003, the settlement could cost EA as much as $40 million. “We’re incredibly pleased with the results of this settlement and the opportunity to right a huge wrong enacted by the NCAA and EA against these players and their rights of publicity,” said Steve W. Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and co-lead attorney. “We’ve fought against intense legal hurdles since filing this case in 2009 and to see this case come to fruition is a certain victory.”

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