What does John Madden’s retirement mean for Electronic Arts, the maker of the eponymous football video game?

Geoff Gloeckler, staff editor here at BusinessWeek, made some calls and passes along some thoughts, which I’m posting here:

Earlier today, John Madden announced that he was retiring from NBC Sports, effective immediately. The long-time NFL player, coach, and broadcaster has made a name for himself not only in the world of football, but also as a video game icon as the face behind the ultra popular Madden NFL franchise from EA Sports. Will Madden’s retirement from the broadcast booth also mean retirement from the video game realm? According to EA Sports, the answer is no. “Madden has a long-term contract with the company,” says an EA spokesperson. “EA will continue to work with John, as they have for the past two decades, on the making of the Madden NFL game. That will not change any time soon.”

In a statement, EA Sports head Peter Moore says: “John’s a true sports icon who has made an indelible impact on the sport of football which will be felt forever. His prolific coaching and broadcasting careers, as well as his distinct role in shaping the EA SPORTS football experience have redefined how multiple generations have come to know and love the sport with unrivaled passion. We’re excited to see his legacy live on in the 21st year of Madden NFL football, and well beyond. It’s been a privilege for EA SPORTS to have had the strong relationship we’ve had with John for more than two decades and one that will continue into the future.”

In twenty years, the Madden franchise has sold more than 70 million copies, making it the all-time best selling video game franchise in North America. The 2010 version is scheduled to be released August 14.

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