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Fanatics strikes deal with colleges, student athletes to launch Topps cards


Fanatics display at the All-Star Players House Presented by MLBPA located at the Corner Alley Bar & Grill on July 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Topps will launch a new line of trading cards with college athletes in the fall. Fanatics, the parent company to Topps, said that the deal would allow some players to share in the profits while allowing them to pair cards with school logos for the first-time.

Fanatics is a sportswear company that acquired Topps earlier this season. It said it will be expanding the number of schools with former and present athletes to include over 150. In addition, the company has contracts with 200 students-athletes to allow them to use their names or likenesses. Fanatics says that they plan to add schools and athletes in the future.

The majority of the Power Five conference schools are participating, including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon and Texas A&M.

CNBC’s Derek Eiler stated that the entire Fanatics college division executive vice president, “We believe this whole category will not only attract new collectors but also will benefit student athletes by expanding product offerings in the market.”

The details of the agreements with schools have not been disclosed, But most of those athletes will not be paid. Fanatics did not say what the student-athletes who signed their own contracts would be paid. However, compensation will depend on their status, public reputation, and their expected draft rank. The demand for professional players’ basketball and football cards will increase.

Fanatics stated that this will mark the first licensing of school logos for trading cards. School logos were also required to be removed from trading cards that have been made with college athletes.

CNBC spoke with Jason Schlafer (University of Kentucky executive assistant athletic director) about the new Topps and Fanatics partnership that allows Kentucky student athletes to receive official trading cards of their favourite current UK Wildcats.

Also included is digital cards, which can be printed quickly. Eiler explained that digital cards are useful for capturing key moments during games or making big plays.

Fanatics retail stores, Fanatics’ website and hobby shops will carry physical cards.

Fanatics hopes the agreement will help them establish relationships with student athletes before reaching the professional ranks.

“With Fanatics shrewdly leveraging the iconic Topps brand they recently purchased, their launch into physical and digital trading cards will simultaneously boost their own revenues while creating yet another avenue for student athletes to monetize their name-image-likeness,” said Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University.

Rishe stated that the agreement could stimulate the autograph market for past and current stars.

He said, “Imagine how much a card signed and signed by Ed Pickney or other members of the Cinderella 1985 Villanova Basketball team could bring in.”

Fanatics acquired ToppsIt signed an agreement worth approximately $500 million in January to further its efforts in the market for sports collectibles. Michael Rubin (co-owner of New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers), founded the company in 2011. Fanatics was able to raise $1.5 billion in March. valuation$27 Billion