The MLB has decided that they will not continue forward with their 70-year deal with Topps, a trading card company based in New York:
Topps is one of the best know trading card makers, covering the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS.
And they’re not just limited to US-based sports. They also make cards for the UEFA champions league, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Star Wars, and WWE.
Simply put, Topps is a leading brand in the trading card sector.
No MLB Renewal
However, the MLB has announced that they won’t be renewing their respective agreements with Topps when the deals come up for renewing in 2022. This marks the end of a 70-year long relationship between Major League Baseball and Topps:
In fact, Topps is the only company that makes baseball trading cards for Major League Baseball.
The loss of the Major League Baseball partnership also scrapped an earlier deal that would have made Topps a publicly traded company again:
Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, a special purpose acquisition company, had agreed to take Topps public. But since Major League Baseball has announced that they won’t be continuing with Topps. Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II and Topps mutually decided not to go public.
Topps was valued on the Nasdaq to be worth $1.3 billion.
Topps In 2007
Topps wasn’t always a private company. It used to be a public company before a $385 million deal was made to take the company private in 2007.
The company itself was founded in 1938 and became a household name for distributing cards. Some of the more famous trading cards they made are rare collectors’ items like a 1952 Mickey Mantel card that sold for $5.2-million in 2020.
It isn’t all bad for Topps. It still has deals in place with other sports associations like Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League. But obviously, these sports aren’t as big as baseball in the card collecting market.
Fanatics The New Face Of MLB Trading Cards
Major League Baseball has decided to go forward with Fanatics to produce physical trading cards for them. Fanatics will start a new trading card company and will also give Major League Baseball and their player association equity in the trading card company.
Major League Baseball already has close relations with Fanatics. Previously MLB gave fanatics-owned crypto company Candy Digital NFT rights. Fanatics also has all the other e-commerce rights for Major League Baseball.
Plus, Fanatics is getting ready to expand out of their conventional streams like sports merchandising and sports betting.
Fanatics raised $325 million for their plan of expansion and is currently valued at $18 billion.
This news does mark the end of an era of very iconic trading cards. But as we move towards a new digital age, sports are clearly embracing new technologies like NFTs for collectible items.