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Fanatics Gets Exclusive MLB Trading Card Licensing Rights

As originally reported by Jared Diamond and Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal, there has been a major restructuring to the sports trading card world. Fanatics, Inc. has secured the exclusive trading card rights from the players unions of the MLB, NFL, and NBA. They have also struck a deal with Major League Baseball, and are working on deals with the National Basketball Association and National Football League.

This is a massive change in the sports card market. Topps Co. has held the rights to produce MLB trading cards since the 1950s. They will lose the rights to produce these cards after 2025 when their current deal with MLB ends. This is a major hit to Topps Co., who announced they would be going public at the end of this year. Topps representatives have yet to comment on the situation.

The MLBPA deal with Fanatics will begin in 2023, three years before the MLB contract starts in 2026. It will reportedly result in big-time money for the players as one of the biggest deals in union history. Fanatics is starting a card company just to produce cards from this licensing deal. Once the agreements with the NBA and NFL (along with their player associations) go through, Fanatics will have cornered a massive piece of the sports memorabilia market.

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