Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have struck new exclusive baseball card agreements with a new company controlled by Fanatics Inc., breaking the 70-year long partnership with Topps.
All three unions—the MLBPA, NBPA and NFLPA—will have stakes in the entity that will now have control of the most lucrative sports trading card assets in the country. MLB and the NBA have also struck deals with the new business and will also have a stake.
The MLBPA deal begins in 2023. MLB’s current agreement with Topps runs through 2025. The NBA and NFL unions’ deals run through 2025 and 2026, respectively. Topps reportedly paid the MLBPA $20.4 million last year to use player likenesses on cards.
The undisclosed total value of the MLBPA deal is more than 10 times bigger than any deal the union has ever struck. He added that it is part of a series of recent deals that will generate nearly $2 billion through 2045.
The sports trading card market alone is worth more than $5 billion, according to various industry group estimates.
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