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Soccer - 15 Sep 2021
Uefa, European soccer’s governing body, has expanded and extended the commercial partnership that covers its various club competitions with Topps, the USA-based trading card company.
Topps, which has been Uefa’s licensed collectibles partner for the top-tier Champions League and second-tier Europa League since 2015, has now extended that deal and has also expanded it to entail the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) covering those competitions, as well as the Europa Conference League, the new third-tier league which has started this season.
The deal, in which Topps will carry on as Uefa’s exclusive and official collectibles carrier, also covers the Women’s Champions League.
Topps has said it will be turning iconic Champions League and Europa League moments into NFTs over the course of the partnership.
Patrick Rausch, Topps’ chief marketing officer, has now said: “It’s great to offer our community and football fans across Europe and the world the greatest moments in the upcoming seasons.
“As Uefa’s exclusive partner for collectibles, we are not only taking a huge step towards the future together, but we’re also taking collectibles to the next level.”
As well as NFTs, Topps will continue to produce and distribute stickers and cards for the Champions League and the other competitions.
The extension will be welcome news for Topps, which last month lost its long-term trading card rights for baseball’s MLB, from 2022 onwards.
Fanatics, the online sportswear and equipment retailer, has snapped up that license instead.
Fanatics plans to start a new trading card company and will give equity in the company to MLB and the MLB Players Association.
The upcoming loss of the lucrative MLB contract was a major factor in Topps recently pulling out of a deal to go public through an initial public offering (IPO).
It had intended to launch the IPO through a merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, a special purpose acquisition company, in a deal that would have valued the company at $1.3 billion, but those plans have now been shelved.
Last week, Uefa brought on board Bwin, the international online betting operator, as a sponsor of the Europa League and Europa Conference League until 2024.
Bwin, which has its headquarters in Austria, will become the first sports betting partner of these tournaments for the next three seasons, starting with the 2021-22 campaign’s group stages later this month, and running until the end of 2023-24.
As part of the partnership, which was arranged by Team Marketing, Uefa’s commercial partner agency in charge of rights sales, the betting group has secured logo rights across media backdrops, on advertising hoardings within stadiums and on the tournaments’ digital and social media platforms.