Konami, the creator of eFootball PES, announced last month that they will acquire the exclusive rights to portray Atalanta B.C. The soccer club is a prominent member of the Serie A league in Italy.
This is a part of a broader strategy by Konami, the company stated in an interview with IGN. This scheme by Konami seems to revolve around Italian football clubs in Serie A. They have acquired four other clubs in the league to this point. The first team to be acquired exclusively by PES was Juventus in 2019. Juventus is one of the most famous clubs in the world, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo on their roster. PES also acquired the sole rights for Roma and Lazio, a pair of teams in Serie A. Konami have also reached a deal with Serie A team Napoli that will go into effect in the next season.
This move takes the rights for these teams away from EA’s Fifa. Fifa is the largest soccer video game in the world, and one of the most popular games regardless of genre. Fifa must now use fake names for the clubs, although it can still use the real names of players. For example, they were forced to rename Juventus to Piemonte Calcio. The seizure of the rights to Juventus by PES is also significant as Ronaldo was the cover athlete on Fifa 19. Historically, Fifa has held the name rights for the majority of prominent soccer clubs around the world.
David Monk, Konami’s Senior licensing and activation Manager for football, told IGN that this is “an intentional strategic approach.” He elaborated further, explaining that both the clubs and the company find this to be a “mutually beneficial arrangement,” and that “Konami has consistently made substantial investments in Italian football for several years now and it remains a very important market for eFootball PES.”
Monk expressed that these exclusive licenses were intended to bring supporters of these clubs to PES and that the clubs would receive more personal attention in the game as a result.
PES looks to focus on the Italian market through this course of action, instead of trying to defeat Fifa on an international scale.