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Baseball Cardmaker Topps Finding Balance between Physical Cards and NFTs, Plans to Go Public

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 2 min read
Baseball Cardmaker Topps Finding Balance between Physical Cards and NFTs, Plans to Go Public
Photo: Topps / Facebook

With the recent explosion in the NFT market, Topps is seeing an encouraging trend and demand for NFTs. However, the company said that the pandemic reignited the demand for physical cards pushing Topps’ sales 23% north last year.

Topps, the baseball cardmaker, saw a massive demand shooting for the baseball cards which was absolutely unexpected. This unpredicted revival of the sports industry is, however, colluding with the sharp surge in non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Last Tuesday, the 83-year-old sports card company said that it plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). In its official announcement, Topps noted it seeing the rising popularity of physical collectibles and its move into NFTs.

Speaking to CNBC, Topps owners and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner said that the company’s digital business is growing strong. Besides, he also noted that blockchain technology will be a big part of the future. However, the physical cards are a major revenue roller for the company, he admits.

“The cardboard cards are still extremely popular – we appeal to kids,” Eisner said. “The digital cards are very popular – we appeal to teenagers and young adults. And with blockchain, we think we’ll appeal to everybody.”

Last year in 2020, Topps revenue shot 23% north to $567 million. The company is further project a 22% jump in sales this year as well along with a 12% expansion in 2022. However, Topps predicts that its physical card sales will still contribute to 90% sales through 2020.

Apart from its flagship baseball cards, Topps sells cards for Europe’s UEFA Champions League, World Wrestling Entertainment, the National Hockey League, and Star Wars. The CEO added that the company’s decision for the SPAC transaction comes on the outcome of its existing business and with the blockchain explosion.

Topps Joins NFTs Buzz in Blockchain Space

Eisner has been particularly referring to the NFT buzz in the blockchain space. He points out the very popular products like NBA Top Shot made by Dapper Labs. NBA Top Shots have made millions of dollars in sales selling short videos of popular players going for thousands of dollars as NFTs.

The video clips sold as NFTs come with unique codes on blockchain giving them digital authenticity. Ron Gustafson, owner of MVP Sports and Collectibles calls Topps’ plan to go public as fascinating. Gustafson is himself involved in the crypto space. Speaking on the recent market explosion in this market, he said:

“Folks are warming up to the digital side of things because of what digital currency is doing from an investment standpoint. Collectors still want something physical in return.”

Other news from the crypto industry can be found here.

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