Topps announced on Wednesday that it is now the official baseball card manufacturer for USA Baseball.
The deal is an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that adds to a Topps portfolio already including exclusives for Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. As the official card of USA Baseball, Topps will have the lone rights to USA Baseball trademarks,logos and other intellectual property for use on cards of USA Baseball players.
The deal includes cards, autographs and game-used equipment from USA Baseball’s Collegiate, 18U and 16U National Team players to be featured in a variety of Topps products each year. The first Topps set to include USA Baseball players this year will be 2010 Bowman, which arrives in May.
“Twenty-five years after collectors were first introduced to USA Baseball, our organization is pleased to have Topps, the industry leader, return as the exclusive home for USA Baseball trading cards,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. “We look forward to working closely with Topps as together we provide collectors with a look at the future of America’s game on trading cards.”
Upper Deck had been the official card manufacturer for USA Baseball box sets since 2003 but did not help produce the set in 2006. Topps, on the other hand, included USA Baseball cards in its 1985 set as well as in its annual Traded sets from 1988 to 1993.
“Now we’re the only trading card licensed by Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and USA Baseball,” said Warren Friss, Vice President-General Manager of Topps Sports and Entertainment. “We are covering the game of baseball at every level.”
USA Baseball cards have included the first appearances of such stars as Mark McGwire, Ryan Howard, Dustin Pedroia and countless other players in the past.
Each year USA Baseball selects nearly 60 players for its teams, giving collectors the first opportunity to see the future stars of baseball. The 2010 Bowman set will include cards of the 2009 Collegiate National Team and the 2009 18U National Team.
In addition to the Topps sets featuring USA Baseball inserts, the annual USA Baseball National Teams Box Set also will be manufactured by Topps and will continue to be the exclusive place to get all members of the USA Baseball National Team in one set. The box set is scheduled for a December release this year as it will be in each of the remaining years of the agreement.