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Fanatics Acquires Topps in Huge Deal

Topps’ Trading Company has officially sold its sports card business to its rival, Fanatics; the Sports Retailer best known for its online stores featuring licensed sportswear, equipment, and merchandise. On Tuesday, Fanatics acquired the rights to Topps trading cards. While the specific number is unknown, the deal is believed to be north of $500 million.

The deal also includes Topps’ collectible arms, which include both physical and digital.

“With trading cards and collectibles being a significant pillar of our long-term plans to become the leading digital sports platform, we are excited to add a leading trading cards company to build out our business,” Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said in a statement. “Their iconic brand, commitment to product excellence and passionate employees worldwide will allow us to immediately serve our league and players’ association partners and our fans.”

This was a move that doesn’t come too much as a surprise. In August, Fanatics entered an exclusive trading card deal that ended Topps’ unprecedented run that went on for about 60 years.

What Does this Mean for Baseball Cards?

The deal gives Fanatics Trading Cards’ MLB and MLBPA rights to design, create, and sell baseball cards. Fanatics also has long-term rights with the National Basketball Association, National Basketball Players Association, and the NFL Players Association.

But how does Topps’, the pioneer of baseball cards, lose their best product?

As Karl said in the aforementioned article, Topps’ had plans to go Public and enter the stock market after partnering with a SPAC. Many people were even considering investing in the long-running trading card company.

MLB’s decision to drop Topps’ in August came as a huge surprise. Topps’ Executive Chairman Andy Redman had no idea MLB was even in negotiations with other companies at the time.

Topps’ losing their license crippled them in regards to baseball cards. It forced the company to end its proposal and plan to go public, leaving the path as clear as day for Fanatics.

Fanatics also plans to bring along the 350-or-so employees working in Topp’s Sports and Entertainment department. Meaning, perhaps the integrity of the baseball cards we’ve grown accustomed to will not change when Fanatics begins producing these cards.

Where does Topps’ Go From Here?

Topp’s remaining business includes Bazooka Gum and Gift Cards. They plan to rename it to “The Bazooka Companies”. These two divisions brought in more than $250 million in sales during 2021.

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