NFLPA Gives Topps The Boot In 2010
Topps has been making popular NFL football cards for over 50 years. Starting in 2010, they will not have a license to do so thanks to the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) choice not to renew Topps for 2010. Topps has not commented on getting the boot.
What does this mean for collectors? Well, it will mean less choices when the new products come out in 2010. Triple Threads, Chrome, Bowman among others will be a thing of the past. Upper Deck and Panini America will have the lone licenses to produce NFL trading cards. The NBA already went a similar route by granting Panini America the rights to produce NBA trading cards. Upper Deck has a similar deal with the NHL.
We’ve seen these types of exclusive deals in the past, just not usually in the trading card business. Reebok for a long time had an exclusive deal with the NFL to market and produce apparel. EA Sports has an exclusive deal to make the Madden NFL Football game. Apparently, the big pro sports organizations feel that it is more profitable to go with an exclusive deal as opposed to granting multiple licensing rights. With how successful these organizations have been over the years, it’s hard to argue with their decision. It does, without question, hurt the trading card hobby that is already reeling from a down economy.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Topps going forward. While they are probably disappointed by the NFL’s decision, I have to question just how much it will hurt Topps pocket book. For one, they have an exclusive deal themselves with the MLB starting in 2010. I also listened in on a Topps Investor conference call and the hour long call probably spent maybe less then 30 seconds talking about the trading card business. Apparently they do quite well in the candy and confection business. It still stings to collectors who look forward to Topps products every year. Hopefully Upper Deck and Panini America will step up to the plate and deliver some quality products in 2010 and beyond.