EA Sports announced the launch of Season Ticket, a new subscription service that offers well-rounded sports-loving gamers a range of benefits, in a press release this morning. For a yearly rate of $24.99 / 2000 MS Points, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 users get early access to releases in the NFL, NHL, FIFA, Tiger Woods and NCAA Football franchises, as well as discounts and specialized web content.
The early game access advantage is the main draw here, but there's a pretty significant catch that you should be aware of. Starting three days before a game's release, players will be able to download a digital version onto their console of choice. Here's the thing though: That download expires after the three days are up and the game arrives in retail locations.
I'm sure none of us were really expecting EA to give away five full yearly releases plus the other bonuses for less than $30 per year. The digital download expiration is simply an unexpected way of ensuring a fair deal for both sides, especially with any unlocked content (Achievements/Trophies, game saves, etc.) carries over into the retail version of the game, should you purchase it. If you run out once a year to buy Madden NFL and nothing more, this might not be the program for you. Sports fans with more varied tastes will want to consider it though.
Members also get a 20 percent discount on all downloadable content released for participating EA Sports titles as well as access to premium web content. The first items to be offered are Creation Center packs for FIFA Soccer 12 which "provide a deeper set of customization tools and abilities within Creation Center to build your own teams and tournaments."
Finally, all members receive a membership badge, both a physical version and an EASPORTS.com profile-connected digital version. Sadly, no decoder ring to go along with it.