Popular videogame title Pro Evolution Soccer’s ten year run as the exclusive Champions League rights holder has come to an end.
The exclusive deal held between the games publisher Konami and UEFA will end after this year’s Champions League final in Kyiv, Konami detailed in a statement.
Eurogamer reports that The Champions League first appeared in Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, which came out in 2008, while Konami later added the licences for the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup to the series.
The news suggests that a previous renewal – one that was to see the rights for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup held with Konami until 2019 – has been cut short.
Pro Evolution Soccer has often struggled competing for licenses against its cash-rich rival FIFA when it comes to official football licences. PES famously still uses Man Blue for Man City and London FC for Chelsea. Rumours suggest that the UEFA license will now go to FIFA.
Jonas Lygaard, senior director of brand and business development for Konami, said: “The UEFA Champions League licence has given us a platform to create unique experiences and provide football fans from all over the world with an opportunity to enjoy this competition first hand.
“This year, however, we will shift our focus into other areas. We will continue to explore alternative ways UEFA and Konami can continue to work together, as our relationship remains strong.”