Topps Extends Exclusive MLB License Through 2020

Topps Extends Exclusive MLB License Through 2020

Topps' exclusive deal with Major League Baseball isn't going anywhere any time soon. The card maker has announced a new multi-year deal that extends through 2020.

Topps has held the exclusive MLB license since the start of 2010. The deal enables them to incorporate team logos, uniforms and other trademarks on trading cards. This differentiates them from other companies like Panini and Upper Deck that have licenses with the MLBPA. This gives them the right to use player images, but without MLB trademarks.

"Having a deal in place, it allows us to invest in the business. It's tough when you don't know if the deal is going to end in a year or a few years," said Mark Sapir of Topps on Cardboard Connection Radio, live from the 2013 Las Vegas Industry Summit. "Having a long-term deal and a long-term partnership allows you to invest in the business and plan the business."

Sapir mentioned that some of that planning would be for marketing, which he says they can do more of knowing that they won't be losing the license. He also said the extension would allow the company to sign more long-term autograph deals.

While he didn't say a set number, Sapir did say that Topps was limited in the number of MLB card products they could make each year.

One of the targets with the extension continues to be getting more kids involved in the hobby. "We've struggled with getting kids back into collecting the way we'd like to. I think all of us would like to see more kids in collecting," said Sapir. He said Topps would continue to do marketing towards getting kids into collecting an leveraging digital content and products beyond traditional cards like the upcoming 2013 Topps Big League Minis vinyl figures and 2013 MLB Chipz.

As a collector, are you happy to see this deal extended? What, if any, changes would you like to see?

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff. His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

  1. Exclusives have proven to be unnecessary for a company’s success in the card industry and Topps has long fought that notion and strangled other manufacturers out of being allowed MLB team logos. The lack of competition has stagnated Topps’ bland product line and tired designs and allowed a festering wound of terrible customer service and supplier policies to seriously damage the fun of the hobby. They say they have to market to kids, but they REALLY need to stop treating all their customers like children.

  2. The only problem is Competition usually breeds innovation. Topps has been lack luster on the innovation past couple years. Though I will admit, Gypsy Queen is one of my favorite.

  3. I hate this. This means Topps doesn’t have to change anything and collectors will keep buying because it’s the only “official” product available. I wish there was another licensed option because this year I’m not that excited by Topps designs and I feel like it’ll be the same for the next 7 years now.

  4. I think it’s awesome, however I’d love to see Topps hobby products more affordable to my son with his allowance. Usually I put most of his sets together for him out of what I open and he spends his allowance on what he’s missing from subsets; and we all know how expensive those can be, especially emerald and gold parallels.

  5. That sucks..nobody should have exclusive anything. Especially Topps.

  6. they refering to topps should share the pie with paini.

  7. Not happy about it; Panini’s Cooperstown set was awesome (my 10 year old LOVES it…and so do I) but it would have been even better had they been allowed to use the team names, logos, etc, although they did a pretty good job of letting you know exactly which team they were referring to. Same for their Triple Play line, and both my kids (6 and 10) loved those.

    And I agree with the “competition breeds innovation” statement. By 2020 Topps will be completely stagnant, and MLB will come to regret this decision.

  8. A notion of this caliber is something comparable to moronic. Since 2010, Topps’ product line and dwindled down to high end products that “flippers” buy and the long time and loyal customers dont want to invest in.
    Personally, I refuse to buy Topps anymore. Their designs are repeats, bland, and nothing worth investing towards. If the MLBPA pulled their heads from their “fourth point of contact,” they would realize that people are investing in other companies (i.e. Panini and Upper Deck) because they are producing quality cards. Prior to 2010, I primarily bought Topps; since then, I buy Panini.

    By 2020, mark my words, kids won’t be collecting. Sorry Topps, the truth hurts.

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