Fanatics, Topps makes a splash with NIL with a college trading card deal
The highly sought after rookie trading card used to commemorate an athlete’s first year in professional sports. Soon, this property will also be occupied by first-year students.
Fanatics Collectibles and Topps announced a line of physical and digital college trading cards with more than 100 colleges and universities across the country. The agreement will include both current college athletes and former college athletes playing in the NFL, NBA and MLB.
Already one of the largest retailers of sports memorabilia in the United States, Fanatics has entered into a multi-year agreement for the exclusive rights to create official trading cards for more than 35 colleges. The deal includes college powerhouses Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami and Texas A&M.
In addition, Topps will begin designing, manufacturing and distributing trading cards for college football and basketball players in more than 100 additional schools, including Oklahoma, Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. The agreements will start in 2023.
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“Fanatics have been closely following the ever-changing NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) landscape, and we felt it was the perfect time to launch several strategic college trading card programs that will empower schools and students- current athletes to create new levels of direct engagement with fans through hundreds of top programs nationwide,” said Derek Eiler, Executive Vice President of Fanatics College. “There are tremendous opportunities for this untapped realm of the hobby and to expand further into the college athletic landscape.”
Topps also has separate NIL deals for trading card rights for nearly 200 college football and basketball athletes. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Stetson Bennett of national champion Georgia and South Carolina Aliyah Boston, the basketball tournament’s most outstanding player female, are among the signed players.
Fanatics acquired trading card company Topps in January. The move was expected after Fanatics obtained exclusive card production rights for Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association from Topps, which had been producing baseball trading cards since the 1950s. Fanatics now owns the card rights. collectible for MLB, NFL and NBA in addition to the new college deal.