The best college football and basketball players in America will soon become part of a long-standing sport tradition. They’ll be featured on Topps trading cards.
Fanatics Collectibles and Topps announced a “comprehensive college trading cards program” Thursday, with deals with over 100 universities nationwide and separate deals with 200 student athletes who play college football and college basketball.
“Fanatics has been closely monitoring the ever-evolving NIL landscape, and we felt this was the perfect time to launch multiple, strategic college trading card programs that will allow schools and current student-athletes to create new levels of direct engagement with fans across hundreds of the top programs nationwide,” Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College, said in a statement. “There are tremendous opportunities for this untapped area of the hobby and to expand further across the collegiate sports landscape.”
Topps has secured multiyear, exclusive rights with more than 35 schools (the majority are Power Five programs), including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Penn State and Texas A&M.
Topps will “create official trading cards products combining official university trademarks with name, image and likeness (NIL) rights from both current student-athletes and former players.”
Those agreements will start sometime between 2023 and 2025.
Additionally, later this year Topps will also kick off a “scaled, nonexclusive trading card program” featuring current and future college football and basketball stars.
Notable participants include Alabama quarterback and 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and USC quarterback Caleb Williams.
Incoming college basketball players like Dereck Lively II (Duke) and Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas) have also signed deals with Topps, as have some of the best women’s college basketball stars, including South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Individual player trading cards will be released under Topps’ BowmanU brand beginning this fall.