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Fanatics-owned Topps is going to college.
The trading card and collectibles company has struck NIL deals with nearly 200 student athletes and more than 100 colleges and universities for rights to produce trading cards, digital cards, and NFTs.
- The company is currently focused on top football and basketball players including 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama, Stetson Bennett of Georgia, and Aliyah Boston of South Carolina.
- “Over time, we expect that to grow across more sports and more athletes,” Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College, told Front Office Sports.
- Eiler said that athlete compensation is based on “factors that would drive consumer demand and collector demand,” including social following, draft status, and playing position.
Topps has exclusive, multiyear deals with a majority of the Power 5 conference schools, including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Penn State, and Texas A&M, with deals commencing between 2023 and 2025.
Other school pacts with the company are nonexclusive.
Topps will begin releasing cards in the fall through its Bowman U brand.
Through its separate deals with players and schools, Topps has rights to both player name, image, and likenesses, as well as the logos and trademarks of their schools.
Each player deal was struck individually, but “as the category grows, we will contemplate broader group licensing solutions,” said Eiler.
Products will also include autographed cards and player-worn memorabilia.