This has been an incredible week of Philadelphia 76ers minority owner Michael Rubin. Earlier this week, he teamed up with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and several other entrepreneurs to formally submit a bid to launch a sportsbook in New York. Now, Rubin, who also serves as the executive chairman of Fanatics, has struck a major deal with Major League Baseball.
ESPN has obtained a memo from the MLBPA that indicates a Fanatics-backed company will become the exclusive licensee “in the baseball card category” for the MLB in 2022. The Fanatics property will replace Panini and Topps who have worked with the MLB for the better part of 70 years. As reported, the Fanatics’ deal with the MLB and MLBPA is more than 10 times larger than any deal that the union has ever agreed to. Furthermore, the deal is expected to generate up to $2 billion by 2045.
Beyond the world of baseball, Fanatics’ deal also extends to the NBPA and NFLPA. However, it is important to note that these deals are with players’ associations and not the actual lead. As a result, memorabilia produced from this deal can include players, but not team logos. In addition, deals with the NBPA and NFLPA will not go into effect until 2025.
Fanatics nor Topps has commented on these most recent reports.