Thursday
Aug062009

MLB Deal Moves To Make Card Collecting A Topps Priority

August 6, 2009: Major League Baseball said that MLB Properties has signed a multi-year licensing deal with the Topps Co. to make Topps the official baseball card of Major League Baseball." Financial terms were not disclose.

Under terms of the deal, Topps will have exclusivity on MLB, jewel event and club trademarks, logos and other intellectual property, for use on baseball cards, stickers and certain other product categories featuring MLB players. Topps' exclusivity begins on January 1, 2010. Topps would become the first exclusive baseball card company of MLB in nearly 30 years, with the first exclusive product its 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 to be unveiled next February.

The industry's other major player, Upper Deck, said it has a deal with Major League Baseball Players Assn. and would continue to produce cards with images of MLB players. The industry has suffered over the past decade due to an over-production of cards and, of late, an economy that has made such collecting less accessible.

Michael Eisner and The Tornante Company, a private investment company he founded in 2005, acquired The Topps Company, Inc. in 2007 along with Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC. Topps has been working to make the product more accessible to kids, which it believes should again be the core of the hobby, as it was prior to the 1990s when deals and investors tried to take over the category. "We are looking forward to working closely with MLB Properties and its Clubs to invest in innovation and creativity to bring baseball cards and other collectible items to new audiences for many years to come," Eisner said in a statement.

"Topps has over the years clearly distinguished itself as the leader in the industry and the best brand in the business," Howard Smith, svp-licensing, Major League Baseball Properties, said in a statement. "This exclusive agreement with Topps follows similar arrangements in other categories that have resulted in superior products for fans and in turn unprecedented business success." Back to Home Page