Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) and the Topps Company have just today announced a new multi-year deal that will grant Topps the exclusive trading card licensing rights to Minor League Baseball. The agreement makes Topps the Official Baseball Card of Minor League Baseball.
Starting January 1, 2010, Topps will be the only trading card manufacturer allowed to produce nationally-distributed baseball cards of top MiLB draft picks and prospects. The deal will give Topps both baseball card and sticker licensing rights to all the names and logos of the 160 affiliated Minor League clubs, as well as all current MiLB players. Additionally, the New York based trading card manufacturer will now have the exclusive rights to the MilB Pro Debut logo - essentially the Minor League equivalent of the Rookie Card emblem. The first sports card product produced under the new agreement will be 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 1 Baseball, which Topps plans to unveil in early March of next year.
“Topps is excited to become the official baseball card of Minor League Baseball as many of the young players today will be stars in the Major Leagues tomorrow," said Warren Friss, Topps. “Now we're the only trading card licensed by both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball and we look forward to a lasting relationship with both Leagues."
“Topps continues to differentiate itself as the leader within the industry creating superior products for our fans," said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball. “Many fans begin to follow their favorite players as they become standout stars in the Minor Leagues, and a major avenue to build this connection is through collecting their Minor League cards."
“We are pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with The Topps Company into licensed trading cards," said Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner. “This provides us with a unique opportunity to continue recognizing the best and brightest minor league talent while providing our fans and collectors high-quality trading card products."
Earlier this year, Topps became the first exclusive baseball card company of Major League Baseball in nearly 30 years, and this latest deal will give them even more powerful control of the baseball card industry going forward.