Fanatics and Topps continue the upheaval of the trading card industry

With sports cards back on shelves at local Target and Walmart stores across the country, Fanatics is flexing its muscles in an ever-thriving market.

Just a year ago, Fanatics sent shockwaves through the trading card industry by securing exclusive licensing rights to manufacture trading cards for three of the four major sports in North America. It caused the collapse of the $1,300,000,000 SPAC merger that private investment firm and Topps Trading Cards owner Torante, along with Mudrick Capital Acquisition, collapsed days after the massive market upheaval from Fanatics. Earlier this year, Fanatics continued to send shockwaves through the industry when it announced earlier this year its purchase of the Sports and Entertainment division of Topps Trading Cards, ensuring that the iconic Topps Baseball Cards brand would exist for many years to come. years to come.

Fanatics kicked off August by continuing their industrial bombing trend by announcing a new distribution pact with famed sportswear store Lids. Best known for selling hats in local malls across the country, Lids was already selling Topps trading cards for MLB, UEFA Champions League, Formula 1 and other non-sports cards acquired by Fanatics earlier this year in more than 300 stores across the country. Fanatics plans to increase the number of Lids stores selling Topps trading cards to more than 500 over the next few months.

The distribution pact between Fanatics and Lids should come as no surprise to people watching the sportswear industry. In 2018, Fanatics purchased a minority stake in Lids’ parent company, FanzzLids. Topps trading cards will have their own display configuration at each Lids store and the selection of cards sold will vary by location.

As if that weren’t enough, news has started leaking that two major distributors will no longer be receiving Topps products after 2022. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin has been pretty clear in interviews about reinventing the distribution chain. Topps products by removing distributors from the image. and dealing directly with DIY stores and customers. One such distribution company that has been identified as losing Topps products is longtime Topps partner GTS Distribution.

Distribution companies have been vital to the trading card industry for years. They have long been responsible for supplying trading cards to hobby shops and chain stores across the continent, as well as common trading card supplies. In recent years they have also supplied Topps products to circuit breakers.

Breaking has helped revitalize the hobby since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collectors can buy places in “live breaks” of trading card boxes or cases on eBay auctions. Winners receive live stream links to watch open card packs.

The implications of Fanatics’ severing relationship with GTS Distribution has sparked industry-wide discussions about how Topps products for 2023 will get into the hands of collectors and how that could impact pricing. . Fanatics and Topps haven’t released any details on their future distribution plans, but it’s safe to assume that we’ll start to see Topps products sold in greater quantities on the Fanatics website in the near future.

As almost an afterthought, this week the Topps 2022 Baseball Card Factory Sets were released this week. The Factory Set contains all 660 Topps 2022 Baseball Series 1 and Series 2 cards. You can find the Topps 2022 Baseball Card Factory Set starting at $49.99 at Target.

Garland K. Long