Market Overview

The World Cup And FIFA 15 Could Take EA To New Heights

The world's largest sporting event could help Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) sell more games in 2014.

"It's time to pop the cork and have some parties," Hilliard Lyons analyst Jeff Thomison told Benzinga. "The console ownership is going well, people are starting to buy games. But the big reason here is the World Cup."

The 20th FIFA World Cup, which began on June 12, has become a driving force for any and all related merchandise. This could include FIFA 15, the latest chapter in EA's hit franchise.

"When you have these World Cup years, the FIFA game really takes a bump up," said Thomison. "[EA CFO Blake Jorgensen] was really excited about the prospects for FIFA in 2014. I would wager my paycheck on FIFA being up in volume."

Related Link: Is Electronic Arts Serious About Virtual Reality?

Sales of FIFA games have increased steadily over the past six years with only one minor setback. The most recent edition, FIFA 14, sold a few hundred thousand fewer units than FIFA 13. Regardless, FIFA 14 still managed to outsell all other versions of the game and could ultimately come out on top by the time it is retired. Thomison estimated that FIFA 15, which is due in September, will sell even more units because of the World Cup.

"You should always be concerned that it doesn't go up," Thomison said of the franchise's annual releases. "But you should feel confident that it will go up to that 15 to 16 million or higher range [this year]."

Thomison compared this effect to the retail shoe industry, which he used to follow. He said that industry enjoys a boost every four years when the Summer Olympics come around.

Hoping For A 'Buy'

Thomison isn't recommending EA yet, but he is having second thoughts about his current Neutral rating. "I kind of regret my current rating," he said. "I'd like to get another buying opportunity in EA. I like it more than I used to, in terms of the company and the stock."

Trading in the mid-$30s, Thomison said that EA isn't much of a bargain. But it is a company that he will continue to watch closely.

"We'll see if it pulls back," he added. "Activision Blizzard -- [I'm] still recommending them. PT in mid-$20s, but that could go higher depending on how the June quarter results go."

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

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