Topps hasn’t produced hockey cards for a long time but it’s apparently secured a license for a new digital program that launched on Wednesday in conjunction with the opening of the 2016-17 season. Topps NHL SKATE 17 allows smartphone and tablet users who download the app to collect, trade, and participate in contests using digital cards.
The move comes several months after Topps expanded its digital operation in Orlando, FL. The company already has a number of popular apps including BUNT for baseball, HUDDLE for football and KICK for soccer.
Upper Deck currently owns the exclusive license for the NHL’s physical trading cards. Topps SKATE will be the first time a trading card company has launched a digital sports product without having a physical card license. Topps launched its’ HUDDLE game prior to losing the NFL license to Panini but the popularity of the app helped convince the NFL to continue the digital deal.
Topps NHL SKATE 17 will include new hockey cards and series released each day based on how players actually perform on the ice. The company has secured an NHL license, allowing them to use league and team logos with its digital products. Online “packs” can be opened every day for free with a “Daily Coin Reward.”
Topps has created a 300 card Series 1 base set with ten color parallels and other limited edition special “cards” that can be swapped with other players of the games that are associated with them.
The first card of Auston Mathews, who scored an unprecedented four goals in his NHL debut Thursday night, can be found in SKATE.
Users can set a lineup each day with their SKATE player cards and earn points. There’s also a live element in which fans and collectors can compete for points in real-time against rival fans around the world. Some contests will last just one game while others will last a full week.
With hockey’s popularity in other countries, there’s not much doubt Topps is hoping for a major international audience with the new app.