Fanatics secured an exclusive agreement with the NBA and the NBPA to produce tradings cards for collectors starting in 2026. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Fanatics will step in once Panini’s agreement with the NBA concludes.
Licensed sports giant Fanatics has reached a deal with the NBA and NBPA to replace Panini in 2026 for exclusive license to produce basketball cards – giving equity to players and league in the new trading cards venture.
Fanatics has now reached an exclusive agreement with the MLB, NBA, and NFL. The new deal with the MLB ended a 70-year relationship with Topps.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond and Andrew Beaton detailed the massive shift in the trading card landscape.
The deals break the grip that incumbent icon Topps Co. has held on the baseball-card market since the 1950s. The basketball and football players had deals with Panini America, Inc.
All three unions—the MLBPA, NBPA and NFLPA—will have stakes in the entity that will now have control of the most lucrative sports trading card assets in the country. MLB and the NBA have also struck deals with the new business and will also have a stake.
Card collecting is enjoying a surge in recent years. Existing producers have received widespread criticism for their inability to match demand.