Fanatics said it completed the acquisition of Topps trading cards, confirming the reports of a potential deal.
The acquisition of Topps’ sports & entertainment division includes all parts of its worldwide trading cards and collectibles business, both the physical and digital divisions, which sells in more than 100 countries with physical operations in 10 countries, including the UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy, and Japan.
Fanatics Trading Cards was launched in 2021 after the company secured exclusive, long-term trading cards rights from professional sports leagues and players associations, including the MLB, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).
Fanatics said in a statement that the addition of Topps trading cards, which also has rights with Major League Soccer, Formula 1, UEFA, and Bundesliga, “significantly accelerates the buildout of the Fanatics Trading Cards business, as the company adds expertise, infrastructure, an iconic brand, and a broad range of capabilities from the industry leader.”
The company said the “deal jumpstarts Fanatics Trading Cards’ MLB and MLBPA rights to design, manufacture and distribute trading cards,” effective immediately, versus the original combined start date of 2026.
“With trading cards and collectibles being a significant pillar of our long-term plans to become the leading digital sports platform, we are excited to add a leading trading cards company to build out our business,” said Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. “Their iconic brand, commitment to product excellence and passionate employees worldwide will allow us to immediately serve our league and players association partners and our fans.”
All of the approximately 350 global Topps sports and entertainment employees will become part of Fanatics Trading Cards. Current Topps Global VP, GM, David Leiner, and VP, GM Topps Digital, Tobin Lent, will continue to run Topps within Fanatics Trading Cards, a separate subsidiary of Fanatics. Both will report to Doug Mack, Fanatics, Inc. vice chairman and Fanatics commerce CEO.
“The strong emotional connection between Topps collectibles and consumers of all ages, built through 70 years of tradition, starting with the Shorin family, will make it a jewel in the Fanatics portfolio,” said Michael Eisner, owner, Tornante Company. “Michael Rubin is the perfect entrepreneur to lead this company forward. Like any crown jewel, I and my partners at Madison Dearborn will miss our many years of ownership where we grew a highly profitable business through strategic licensing partnerships, global expansion and digital transformation. We’re proud of what the Topps team has accomplished, and we look forward to seeing what Michael and his team do to continue growing the Topps collectible business while staying true to its iconic history and relevance to consumers.”
Fanatics said “the combined vision and distinct strengths of both Fanatics and Topps will improve the collector experience while maintaining vital parts of the hobby. Fanatics’ data-driven, direct-to-consumer expertise, which includes a database of more than 80 million sports fans globally, will enhance and expand Topps’ existing digital capabilities and grow the market opportunity for all participants. Additionally, Topps’ quality, product development and manufacturing capabilities, along with its commitment to collectors and hobby shops, will ensure products are more readily accessible, positively impacting current and future collectors and partners.”
Photo courtesy Topps