What was first reported by The New York Times last night — and subsequently tweeted by CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell — has been confirmed: Topps has landed an exclusive MLB trading card agreement for 2010.
Read the official press release from Major League Baseball here.
The announcement comes as quite a surprise, and on the heels of Upper Deck’s annoucement early last month that it had secured an MLBPA extension. At that point, officials from MLBPA had no additional licensing details to report.
Officials from Topps and Upper Deck could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.
“This is redirecting the entire category toward kids,” Topps’ Michael Eisner told the Times. “Topps has been making cards for 60 years, the last 30 in a nonexclusive world that has caused confusion to the kid who walks into a Wal-Mart or a hobby store. It’s also been difficult to promote cards as unique and original.”
It remains to be seen how, if at all, Upper Deck will use its MLBPA license in 2010. As it stands now, three of the four major sports will have an exclusive trading card manufacturer in 2010 — Topps (baseball), Panini America (basketball) and Upper Deck (hockey).
Complete Beckett coverage of the story:
— Tracy Hackler