Fanatics Collectibles, Topps Launch Trading Program Welcoming Over 100 University Partnerships
Photo Credit: Duane Prokop/Getty Images for MLBPA

Fanatics Collectibles, Topps Launch Trading Program Welcoming Over 100 University Partnerships

A groundbreaking deal has been struck that will feature college athletes on trading cards and collectibles.

According to a press release, Fanatics Collectibles and Topps will launch physical and digital trading cards representing over 100 universities throughout the nation. The deal, which goes into effect beginning in 2023, will involve exclusive and non-exclusive co-branded trading card products and extend to former athletes playing in the NFL, NBA, and MLB

“This collection is the first offering of officially licensed collegiate cards featuring current athlete NIL rights. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to launch these comprehensive programs that combine premier student-athletes and elite institutions to create a best-in-class collegiate trading card product for fans and collectors,” said Dave Leiner, Topps Global Vice President and General Manager, according to a press release.

Name, Image, And Likeness Deals Secured With Over 35 Institutions

In addition, Fanatics’ Topps will make its foray into the name, image, and likeness (NIL) arena as it has already secured exclusive rights with over 35 institutions and Power 5 Conference schools including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M. The expansion will lead to official trading cards products integrating university trademarks with NIL rights from student-athletes and former players.

What’s more, Fanatics’ Topps will launch a non-exclusive program to design, manufacture, and distribute trading cards sporting current student basketball and football athletes at over 100 additional institutions such as Oklahoma, Duke, North Carolina, Iowa and Syracuse.

“Fanatics has been closely monitoring the ever-evolving NIL landscape, and we felt this was the perfect time to launch multiple, strategic college trading card programs that will allow schools and current student-athletes to create new levels of direct engagement with fans across hundreds of the top programs nationwide,” said Derek Eiler, Executive Vice President, Fanatics College, according to a press release. “There are tremendous opportunities for this untapped area of the hobby and to expand further across the collegiate sports landscape.”

Trading Cards Featuring Student Athletes Aliyah Boston And More Dropping This Fall

The deal which appears to be promising will not lead to direct dollars into the pockets of all student athletes. While those who sign NIL deals could earn up to $5,000 according to Forbes, those who are not signed to deals will not receive financial compensation. However, Fanatics has plans to sign more athletes in the future.

As the company prepares for a new era in sports, collectors will not have to wait long to snag a collectible from their favorite college athletes. Beginning this fall, trading cards featuring 200 student-athletes in college and basketball including Caleb Williams (USC), incoming men’s basketball players Dereck Lively II (Duke), Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas), and 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Champion and Tournament Most Outstanding Player Aliyah Boston (South Carolina) will be made available.

“I’m so excited to team up with Fanatics and Topps on this new trading card partnership, which will allow me to create an even deeper level of engagement with fans and collectors everywhere,” said USC Quarterback Caleb Williams, according to a press release.