Fanatics, a global sports retailer, announced Tuesday that they acquired the Topps trading card company. Fanatics, who is also a merchandiser, and now sports card and memorabilia giant, paid over $500 million to obtain Topps. The deal includes Topps’ collectibles arm, 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.”
All of the approximately 350 global Topps sports and entertainment employees will shift over and seamlessly integrate into Fanatics Trading Cards.
This is a bittersweet takeover for me in that when I collected baseball cards in the 1980’s, Topps was my favorite card to get. I loved to find individual ones and complete yearly sets. It was the most fun to buy individual packs, with the gum inside, open the wax pack, and hope to find one of the popular players of the day. I’ve also always been fascinated with baseball history and especially the baseball cards of Mickey Mantle.
Almost all of his 1952 Topps rookie cards were thrown in the ocean many years ago. Now they are the most sought after cards since they are the rarest. One of these cards, which was in almost perfect condition, was sold earlier this year for 5.2 million dollars.
But, with this new deal, which cements a deal for Fanatics with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association for the exclusive licenses to produce baseball cards, it ends a 60 year run of Topps being one of the sport’s and hobby’s most recognized brands.
Fanatics Trading Cards will also take over Topps’ other hobby cash cows such as Formula 1, UEFA, and Major League Soccer. The NBA, National Basketball Players Association, and NFL Players Association also have long-term deals with Fanatics. It will be extremely interesting to see if Fanatics can improve on the incredible legacy that Topps created.
Article by: Chris Steele, iHearts143Quotes Team member