The Topps Company, Inc. announced a 2021 licensing agreement 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 official trading cards for all 12 NPB teams. This past year Topps expanded its international presence by opening up an office in Tokyo to serve the Japanese and Asian market’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,” said 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,” said 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 in 2021 to be sold in select retail locations in Japan starting in Q4. Topps also launched a local Japanese website, JP.Topps.com in September 2021. Topps was notified this yaer that their contracts for player images, set to expire in 2022, and team logos set to expire in 2025 would not be renewed. MLB has tapped Fanatics to replace Topps as baseball trading card maker.