Seven months after opening an office in Japan, Topps has secured a licensing agreement for trading cards with the country’s top baseball league.
The company announced Wednesday that it had agreed to a deal with the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization (NPB) for the production and distribution of trading cards in Japan. This is the first time in its 80-year history that the company has released cards for the entire league, consisting of all 12 NPB teams.
In March, Topps opened an office in Tokyo in an effort to improve its presence in the Japanese and Asian market, where there’s increasing demand for trading cards.
“We have been actively pursuing the NPB league as a way to better serve baseball and sports fans in Japan and beyond,” stated David Leiner, Topps’ Global General Manager, Sports and Entertainment. “We feel the licensing agreement will deliver fans an exciting range of collectible products and enhance how fans collect their favorite teams and players.”
“We are very happy to have signed a licensing agreement with NPB in the memorable year when Topps started its business in Japan,” remarked Satoshi Misu, Topps’ Japan Country General Manager. “With the agreement, we hope to increase the number of trading card fans in Japan as much as possible.”
Topps will launch several products over the final three months of 2021 to be sold in select retail locations throughout Japan. In addition, Topps launched a local Japanese website, JP.Topps.com in September 2021.
Several weeks ago, Fanatics reportedly agreed to a deal with Major League Baseball and its players that is believed to spell the end of Topps’ long run as an American baseball card maker when the current contracts with MLB and its players expire.