The highly sought after rookie trading card used to commemorate an athlete’s first year in professional sports. Soon, that property will also be occupied by freshmen.
Fanatics Collectibles and Topps have announced a series of physical and digital college trading cards featuring more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide. The deal includes current college athletes as well as former college athletes playing in the NFL, NBA and MLB.
Already one of the largest retailers of sports memorabilia in the United States, Fanatics signed a multi-year deal for the exclusive rights to make official trading cards for more than 35 colleges. The deal includes college powerhouses Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami and Texas A&M.
Topps will also begin designing, manufacturing and distributing trading cards for college football and basketball players at more than 100 additional schools, including Oklahoma, Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. The agreements will come into effect in 2023.
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“Fanatics has been closely monitoring the ever-evolving NIL (name, image and likeness) landscape and we felt it was the perfect time to launch multiple, strategic college trading card programs that help schools and current student-athletes create new levels. from direct engagement with fans in hundreds of the best programs nationwide,” said Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College. “There are tremendous opportunities for this untapped part of the hobby and to expand further across the collegiate sports landscape.”
Topps also entered into separate NIL deals for the trading card rights for nearly 200 athletes in college football and basketball. Alabama quarterback, Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Georgia National Champion quarterback Stetson Bennett, and South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, the most notable player in the women’s basketball tournament, are among the contracted players.
Fanatics acquired the trading card company Topps in January. The move was predicted after Fanatics obtained the exclusive rights to produce cards for Major League Baseball and MLB Players’ Association from Topps, which had produced baseball trading cards since the 1950s. Fanatics now has trading card rights for the MLB, NFL and NBA in addition to the new college deal.