‘Beyond Excited To Be Partnering With Such An Iconic Company’| Topps Secures Gonzaga Bulldogs’ Chet Holmgren For Record NIL Deal

(Photo: NYPost/Instagram)

NFTs, NILs and the social media and digital takeover continue to shape the way we consume, preserve and compensate the content and branding of athletes and great moments in sports.

The Topps Company, Inc., a global leader in sports and entertainment trading cards and collectibles, a part of Fanatics Trading Cards, today announced a new partnership with Gonzaga Bulldogs star center Chet Holmgren, marking the game-changing expansion of the product portfolio back into the basketball space.

Baseball is still the company’s calling card, but the attractability of NIL deals for company’s and college athletes was too great an opportunity for Topps to miss out on.

Holmgren’s deal is the biggest Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) investment that Topps has ever made with a college athlete, the company said this week, and offerings will include physical and digital trading cards, rights for products such as Bowman University Basketball and Bowman NEXT in the Bowman card series, autographed trading cards and curated social media content.

As a five-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the 2021 class, Holmgren, a projected NBA lottery pick, will extend Topps’ diverse product offerings as they continue to broaden their ever-expanding footprint and roster of notable athletes and superstars.

 “At Topps, we are always looking for ways to expand our reach to new audiences and celebrate the hardworking, determined athletes across all areas of sports on both a professional and collegiate level,” said David Leiner, Vice President and General Manager of Global Sports & Entertainment at Topps. “This new partnership with Chet marks an exciting new addition to our product portfolio, and we’re thrilled to continue to introduce sports fans and collectors, both old and new, to our trading cards through another innovative collaboration.”

The 7-foot unicorn is considered a talented “pace and space” big man. He’s averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 61.1 percent from the floor on a loaded squad that is a favorite to win the March Madness tournament.

He has guard skills, with enough wingspan and athleticism to still protect the rim. Some believe he’s got generational talent with the long-term tools he possesses, but that remains to be seen. One thing for sure is the kid’s uber-talented, and NBA executives are supposedly salivating.

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“I am beyond excited to be partnering with such an iconic company like Topps who has showcased some of the best athletes in the world over the last 80 years,” said Chet Holmgren. “I’m looking forward to teaming up with Topps as they continue to capture the action of the game and I’m excited to share my passion of basketball with fans and collectors around the world.”

Topps’ partnership with Chet Holmgren will feature a player-curated set, an artist-based set, and fan-favorite Topps NOW cards that capture highlights from the 2021/2022 season for collectors and basketball lovers to enjoy.

A limited-edition card will also be released, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Can Do Canines, a nonprofit organization that is important to Holmgren. Can Do Canines is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. The all-new products are set to release in 2022.

New streams of revenue are developing every day as college athletes and businesses explore the opportunities offered by Name, Image & Likeness deals.


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JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.