Fanatics and Topps Announce Trading Card Agreements for College Athletes

Topps’ parent company, Fanatics, is launching a line of trading cards highlighting college athletes this fall. The deal is expected to share profits with some of the players and pair them with school logos on cards for the very first time.

“Both the schools and athletes benefit through rights fees and royalties paid on the sale of collegiate cards,” Fanatics said in a statement. “Higher profile universities and student-athletes command larger rights fees driven by demand from collectors.”

According to a source familiar with the matter, deals can vary in price from player to player and could reach as high as five figures. Athletes from over 150 universities will be featured on the non-exclusive trading cards. Fanatics revealed that it plans to continue to add schools and athletes as it grows.

Almost all Power Five conference schools are participating, including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, and Texas A&M.

“We think this entire category is one that will not only bring new collectors into the space but will also benefit student-athletes to expand product offerings available in the marketplace,” says Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics’ college division.

The agreement will allow Fanatics to build relationships with student-athletes before they move into the professional ranks.

“With Fanatics shrewdly leveraging the iconic Topps brand they recently purchased, their launch into physical and digital trading cards will simultaneously boost their own revenues while creating yet another avenue for student-athletes to monetize their name-image-likeness,” said Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University.