Topps paid the MLB Players Association $18,768,721 in licensing fees in 2019. That’s according to the union’s annual report with the U.S. Labor Department. The figure represents a $5.6 million increase from 2018 and more than $7 million more than in 2017.
The MLBPA receives more money from Topps than any other licensee. While Topps continues its longstanding steal as MLB’s exclusive partner which gives it the right to use MLB and team logos and nicknames on its products, the MLBPA deal is not exclusive. According to the report, Panini America paid the union over $2.8 million in 2019 as the company continues to print cards of players for its products.
News reports indicate the MLBPA is stockpiling revenue in anticipation of its upcoming labor negotiations with Major League Baseball and a potential work stoppage and the money from Topps is part of that.