By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor
The NFL Players Association recently sent a memo to agents reminding them that signing deals with non-licensed trading card companies could end up costing their players money later.
Presently, only Topps and Panini America are fully licensed card companies with the NFL and the NFLPA, which allows unrestricted use of NFLPA members in their products once the players sign. Meanwhile, four other card companies — Press Pass, SAGE, Upper Deck and Leaf — will produce prospect cards of the players in other uniforms (only Upper Deck has NCAA logo use rights).
“Participation in the NFLPA’s group licensing program presents far more opportunities, and money, than what these unlicensed trading card companies are offering your clients,” the memo said. “It is our understanding that, not surprisingly, the unlicensed trading card companies are failing to disclose to players and/or their representatives the full ramifications of agreeing to such deals. It is up to you, as your client’s representative, to provide him with all of the relevant information and to safeguard his licensing and marketing opportunities.”
In collectors’ terms, the memo says that non-PA deals could lead to players not appearing in NFLPA-approved products — or not having autographs included early on — which would hurt the sales of those products and, in turn, money made off those products for all players involved, not just the rookies.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.