By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor
Topps and Major League Soccer announced an exclusive license agreement on Monday.
The license is for trading cards, player stickers, sticker albums and other collectibles.
“Exclusive is definitely something that is important for us,” said Topps brand manager Jeff Heckman. “We look to grow the category certainly. That is something that is important to us.”
MLS is considered a growth area with more and more fans embracing soccer in the United States. The MLS sits at 19 teams, but it’s not one of the premier leagues in the world just yet – a goal MLS commissioner Don Garber stated he is aiming for by 2022.
In an April survey done in by World Soccer, MLS ranked as the seventh best soccer league in the world. The survey was based on attendance, finances, goals, competitiveness, caliber of players, coaches, stadiums and success in continental matches. German Bundesliga was number one with the English Premier League ranking second.
However, many see a growth potential including Topps.
“I just think it’s a league that is really on the rise,” Heckman said. “Soccer is an interesting place for us right now. As far as professional leagues, it’s always a bit slower. But with fan support and adoption, I think you have seen it grow in the last five to 10 years.”
The license is for multiple years giving Topps time to build the brand.
Along with trading cards that will release this summer (see a preview here), Topps will also create collectibles in the market.
“We are exploring that right now,” Heckman said. “There is nothing we are ready to release. But you have seen some of the things we have done in baseball. We are looking at those types of products.”