The Baseball Trading Card Business18. The baseball trading card business is a highly visible one for MLBP and has been for decades. Over the past decade, MPB's revenues from baseball card licensing is well over $75 million.
19. Notwithstanding the importance of trading cards, the overall trading card business for the four major sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) has been steadily declining for many years falling from approximately $1 billion at its height to approximately $200 million at present. In addition, the share within the trading card sector for Major League Baseball licensed cards has decreased over the years from approximately 75%-80% in the mid-1980's to roughly 15-20% of the total business (including non-sports trading cards) as of today.
20. As a result, in MLBP's reasoned judgment, having an excessive number of trading card licenses diminishes and dilutes the value of the trading card business for MLBP. MLBP has, therefore made the strategic business decision to reduce the number of companies that are authorized and licensed to manufacture and sell complete sets of official MLBP trading cards..
21. Specifically, MLBP has decided that it is currently most beneficial to enter into an exclusive multi-year licensing deal with just one trading card manufacture and distributor, The Topps Company, Inc. ("Topps"). Topps has become the "Official Baseball Card of Major League Baseball,": and under this exclusive arrangement, Topps has the exclusive right to use the MLB Marks on trading cards for retail distribution beginning on January, 1 2010.