A few tidbits reveal how much money gets tossed at athletes–and what the card companies pay to print the pictures.
Topps and Upper Deck are the second and third largest licensees in the Major League Baseball Players Association stable according to a recent story in the Sports Business Journal.
Topps pays $10.57 million in licensing money to the union, primarily for the right to print baseball cards. Upper Deck’s fee was listed at $10.41 million.
Players received some pretty nice bonus checks in 2007 that included part of that money, withheld for a few years prior to the new labor agreement being signed in October of 2006. The story shakes out who got what and explains why the Association’s bosses kept the money from being distributed until last year.
Meanwhile, a story in the Boston Globe reports that LeBron James’ endorsement deal with Upper Deck is worth $5 million.
Sports marketers are anxiously watching the result of the playoff series between the Celtics and Cavs because of the off-the-court money that could be at stake. Garnett, who had toiled in low-key Minnesota for his entire career, gets paid $22 million to play for Boston but has only $7 million in endorsement money. LeBron James is paid a $20 million salary, but actually makes more as a pitchman for various companies, including UD.