Report: Fanatics Lands 20-Year NFLPA Football Card Exclusive Starting 2026

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In the latest domino to fall in the upheaval of the sports card licensing world, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Fanatics has now reportedly received an NFLPA-exclusive license as well beginning in 2026 and running 20 years.

The NFLPA deal had been part of reports last week when it first emerged that Fanatics was jumping into sports cards but Schefter’s report puts a timeframe on what it will look like.

The NFLPA deal grants Fanatics the rights to use NFL players. At this point, there has been no word on the state of the NFL license, which would add logos and league trademarks.

Fanatics takes over from Panini, which has had the NFLPA card exclusive since 2016. Before that, they had been sharing the license with Topps.

The NFLPA deal further adds to Fanatics’ quickly growing sports card line, joining both league and player exclusives for MLB and the NBA.

The ramifications of these deals are already causing a ripple effect. Word of Fanatics’ deal with MLB and the MLBPA came just as Topps was headed towards a merger with Mudick Captial, which would have seen the new company become publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange. That deal was called off.

Fanatics is believed to be starting a new sports card company that will oversee these ventures with Josh Luber, StockX co-founder, heading it. In all of the deals, both the leagues and players associations will have equity in this new company as well.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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6 comments

  1. Chris 25 August, 2021 at 12:32

    Leagues and players only see $$ and don’t care about fans, awarding massive exclusive contracts to a company that hasn’t printed a sports card yet.
    seems like a good time to get out of this hobby…

  2. Will 25 August, 2021 at 12:35

    Is there any indication on how these deals will affect apps like Topps Bunt? Topps Huddle basically died without notice, so I wonder how this will be handled.

  3. Eddy Hendricks 25 August, 2021 at 12:58

    So Fanatics has managed to secure exclusives for baseball, football and basketball…which means the end of the hobby as we know it.

  4. Eddy Hendricks 25 August, 2021 at 13:09

    I’ll clarify my previous comment…I collect on a budget and love building sets…but it’s getting nearly impossible to be a part of the hobby when packs are $15-$20 and boxes are $200-$300 each, and the higher the price the fewer the cards in the packages. Unfortunately prices will do nothing but continue to skyrocket from here, and once the exclusives take hold, there is no incentive to provide affordable options, because there will be no competition and no alternative options. It’s basically pricing the kids and true hobbyists (the lifeblood of the hobby) out of the market in favor of the speculators.

  5. Pono808pono 25 August, 2021 at 16:23

    Aloha

    Lost the Mike Trout article on 2021 Topps. How do I find it again..

    Mahalo

    Francis

  6. Bart Ellsworth 28 August, 2021 at 10:51

    I remain skeptical, since Fanatics has yet to make card 1 to this point, but they HAVE to be better than Panini, right? Out of the old “big 3” card manufacturers, I liked Panini the least when they got the exclusive, and they have only gotten worse since. So the way I see it, nowhere to go but up from here.

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