MLB Signs New Exclusive with Fanatics, Leaving Topps Out

Mike

TP9 | VC15
I just saw this on Twitter and quickly looked it up to make sure it's true and, sure enough, Topps is out and Fanatics is in with the MLB and MLBPA licensing. Fanatics is a huge company, with a lot of buying power, which is probably what swayed the decision in this deal. It will be interesting to see what Fanatics is able to do with sports cards, though. Rumor has it that Fanatics is also in talks with the NBA and NFL too.

Now that I think about it, though, this sounds about right. I finally started collecting baseball cards, more specifically Topps Allen & Ginter, and this has to go and happen. I wonder if they'll keep making the sets, less the logos, which actually might not be too horrible with A&G.

 

Mike

TP9 | VC15
Looks like Topps won't be going public now, either. The merger with Mudrick Capital is off now that they're losing their MLB license. Now this has me wondering what's going to happen to Topps as a company. Will they close their doors, or will they continue to put out unlicensed products?

According to what I've read, the Fanatics exclusive licensing contract with the MLBPA also means that Topps/Panini will no longer be able to use player names on their products either. From what I understand Panini was able to use player names because Topps didn't have an exclusive contract with the MLBPA. Now that Fanatics will, assuming I'm understanding this all correctly, this very well could be the end of baseball cards from both Topps and Panini.
 

Mike

TP9 | VC15
Crazy! It will be interesting to see what happens.
I'm betting Fanatics will buy Topps out. Topps has nowhere to go now. Supposedly Fanatics is planning on doing the same thing with the NBA and NFL too, which means Panini will also be out. Neither of those companies (Topps and Panini) can bid what Fanatics can. They just don't have the cashflow. So, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Fanatics plans on buying both Topps and Panini.

What all this means for us, in my opinion, is that the price of cards is probably going to just keep going up, turning more from a hobby into an investment opportunity. I mean, that's already starting to happen. With the money Fanatics is throwing at this, and they'll have to make it all back, I just don't see any way to even maintain the status quo. I just hope I'm wrong...
 

grapler135s

Veteran
Crazy! It will be interesting to see what happens
I'm betting Fanatics will buy Topps out. Topps has nowhere to go now. Supposedly Fanatics is planning on doing the same thing with the NBA and NFL too, which means Panini will also be out. Neither of those companies (Topps and Panini) can bid what Fanatics can. They just don't have the cashflow. So, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Fanatics plans on buying both Topps and Panini.

What all this means for us, in my opinion, is that the price of cards is probably going to just keep going up, turning more from a hobby into an investment opportunity. I mean, that's already starting to happen. With the money Fanatics is throwing at this, and they'll have to make it all back, I just don't see any way to even maintain the status quo. I just hope I'm wrong...
I’ll bet you are right. Sounds like a buyout might be in the works. Hopefully that is the case and the products do not change too drastically. Prices are crazy and seem to just keep going up. We’ll see what happens!
 

Taliasen

From a pack deep in the north country...
I have musings form a friend on the inside that there will be at least a discussion of buying out Topps. There are NDAs involved though so he could not say anything as far as timeframe or $$$$ though.

Shrewd business maneuver or dick move to out bid for the license that is really on the thing a company is banking on, and then turn around and buy the company that you just bent over the barrel?

The vision/dream is to have all 4 licenses from the big 4 under one umbrella. Eventually , NASCAR, UFC MLS and WWE all may end up there too!
 

Mike

TP9 | VC15
Shrewd business maneuver or dick move to out bid for the license that is really on the thing a company is banking on, and then turn around and buy the company that you just bent over the barrel?

The vision/dream is to have all 4 licenses from the big 4 under one umbrella. Eventually , NASCAR, UFC MLS and WWE all may end up there too!

I'd say it's both. From a business standpoint, it's brilliant, assuming they have a business plan going forward to keep them in the black. They're assuming they'll be able to make more money selling the cards than Topps and/or Panini, which I automatically assume means they're going to be jacking the price on cards up even more.

I have no doubt they will eventually have all the licenses. They're just too big of a company. None of the others can compete. So, unless some other, already successful, sports company swoops in wanting to outbid them, it's pretty much already theirs.

Without knowing all of the details yet, I'm worried about what this could mean for the hobby as a whole. I generally try to be optimistic about things, but I don't see how this could be good for the average collector (like me). I'm already getting priced out of buying hobby boxes for myself. I'm paying about 30%, or more in some cases, for single PC cards than what I would have just a year ago. With a company spending more on the exclusive licensing, and also having the player's union exclusives (which to my knowledge has never happened before, and completely removes the competition from creating any cards at all, licensed or otherwise), this all spells bad news for folks like me who don't have a fortune to spend on cards.

I'm especially worried about what's to happen to hobby shops and dealers. If Fanatics truly wants to be a one-stop-shop, where you buy/sell/trade/grade all on their site, what does that mean for hobby shops?

Hopefully it'll all work out in the end, but I'm not too excited about this just from what I've read so far. I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.
 
Top