Competitive Edge - Sports & Entertainment Marketing News

MLB Set to Give Trading Card License to Fanatics, Ending Run With Topps

For 70 years, the name Topps has become synonymous with baseball cards. That longevity was threatened Thursday, as The Action Network confirmed that Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have given their exclusive licenses to Fanatics. The union deal doesn’t start before 2023, and the MLB deal won’t start until 2026.

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Discussion Questions:

  1. What is licensing?
  2. In the case of MLB, MLB Players Association and Topps, who is the licensor in the relationship? Who is the licensee?
  3. What is an exclusive license?
  4. Why is licensing important to Topps as it relates to their baseball card business?
  5. How might MLB’s decision to grant an exclusive license to Fanatics impact Topps?
  6. Why do you think Fanatics would invest in exclusive licensing rights to baseball cards with MLB and MLBPA?
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.