Fanatics reaches exclusive agreement with the NBA and NBAPA to produce trading cards starting in 2026. Fanatics will step in once Panini’s agreement with the NBA ends.1 Panini has held the exclusive license to produce NBA trading cards since 2009.2
Fanatics has also secured a deal with the NFL, which in addition to the deal with MLB, will make Fanatics the official licensee for trading cards of the three leagues.3
The collection of deals will effectively produce a monopoly with some potential outcomes to at least consider:4
- Being the sole producer of trading cards in the big three should stimulate additional morale and as such we may see some very interesting things come out of the hobby in the second half of the decade.
- Fanatics is new to the trading card space and as such has the potential to make market errors in areas such as understanding target market expectations, category loyalty, design quality, and pricing. The outcome of which could cripple the industry.
It’s going to take some time for the market to adjust to this change. Changes like this often cause stakeholder attrition and replacement.
- Fanatics Reaches Exclusive Trading Card Deal with NBA, NBPA. www.blazersedge.com ↩︎
- Report: Fanatics Strikes Again, Set To Become Exclusive Licensee For NBA Trading Cards. www.forbes.com ↩︎
- Report: Topps out as Fanatics strikes trading card deals with MLB, NBA, NFL player unions. www.usatoday.com ↩︎
- Fanatics eyes sports cards monopoly with NBA, NFL licensing deals in sight. clutchpoints.com ↩︎