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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Reggie Wayne, Drew Brees battle for Madden cover

March 9, 2010
KEYWORDS Sports Business

With six days left to vote for the cover of the Madden 2011 video game, it appears the race is down to Indianapolis Colts’ receiver Reggie Wayne and New Orleans’ Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

This is the first year the game’s maker has allowed fans to vote for the cover. The vote is done via a promotion with Doritos, which has been promoting the contest heavily since early February in grocery stores nationwide. The vote concludes March 15. Fans can still vote at Doritoschangethegame.com.

Minnesota Vikings’ defender Jared Allen is the third finalist, but sources familiar with the voting said Brees and Wayne have pulled ahead.

“Some people are going to look at the list and think Drew Brees is going to win, but Reggie Wayne had an amazing statistical season, and I think he’s the best wide receiver in the NFL,” said Chris Erb, senior director of partnership marketing for EA Sports.

Brees still remains a slight favorite to win the cover. That might be OK with Colts fans given the “curse” associated with being on the Madden video game cover.

Shaun Alexander, just one of a number of stars who became injured after appearing on the Madden cover, thinks talk of the “curse” is overblown. Alexander still benefits financially from the deal, continuing to do promotions for EA Sports, the game’s producer.

“Football is a physical game, and people get hurt,” Alexander told USA Today last month after doing a promotion for the 2011 version in conjunction with Doritos.

Alexander pointed out that LaDainian Tomlinson and Tom Brady both begged off being on the cover. “And they still both got hurt,” Alexander said.

Curse or not, the Madden cover gig can be a lucrative deal for the NFL player chosen. Sports marketers estimate its value at low- to mid-seven-figures for the athlete, with some players continuing to do EA promotions long after the year they appear on the cover.

The Madden video game is one of the best selling video games worldwide, typically grossing more than $100 million in the week of sales after its initial release.
 

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