Topps officials on Monday confirmed that the company has secured an exclusive multi-year deal with Minor League Baseball.
The agreement, which takes effect beginning Jan. 1, 2010, grants Topps the exclusive rights to produce nationally distributed trading cards of draft picks and prospects within Minor League Baseball, and will give Topps the rights to names and logos of the 160 affiliated Minor League clubs and current Minor League players in uniform on baseball cards and stickers.
The deal also means Topps is the only company that can use Minor League Baseball’s Pro Debut logo. (Grandstand, Multi-Ad and Choice will continue to produce team sets for regional/team distribution, according to one MLB executive, as this deal does not affect those companies.)
The company’s first officially licensed Minor League product will be 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 1, set to release in March.
“Topps is excited to become the official baseball card of Minor League Baseball as many of the young players today will be stars in the Major Leagues tomorrow,” said Warren Friss, Topps General Manager. “Now we’re the only trading card licensed by both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball and we look forward to a lasting relationship with both leagues.”
“Many fans begin to follow their favorite players as they become standout stars in the Minor Leagues, and a major avenue to build this connection is through collecting their Minor League cards,” said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President of Licensing for Major League Baseball.
Minor League Baseball and Topps annually recognize the top prospects in baseball with the Topps Player of Month Awards and year-end classification all-star teams. “We are pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with The Topps Company into licensed trading cards,” said Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner. “This provides us with a unique opportunity to continue recognizing the best and brightest minor league talent while providing our fans and collectors high-quality trading card products.”
Earlier this year, Topps became the first exclusive baseball card company of Major League Baseball in nearly 30 years.
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