Topps' recent deal with Gonzaga C Chet Holmgren marks a new era for the company regarding the NIL college basketball space. The agreement with the '20-21 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, announced earlier this month, will feature a player-curated set, an artist-based set and Topps NOW cards that capture highlights from the '21-22 season. The all-new products are set to release this year, including a limited-edition card that will be released, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Can Do Canines, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. Topps Senior Dir/Talent Licensing Kevin Eger noted the deal will "focus on several core aspects of Topps product offerings." He added the partnership has been a "catalyst for new product and brand innovation from Bowman University and Bowman NEXT to Chet’s own trading set, where he will take the creative reins to make his own curated product offering for collectors."
PERFECT FIT FOR NEW VERTICAL: Eger hopes the Holmgren partnership will help Topps build the foundation for this new vertical. "Topps has built a tremendous amount of brand equity within its Bowman portfolio. We’re excited to transfer this momentum into the NIL category. Our strategy is to provide collectors with the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with the first cards produced of tomorrow’s superstars," said Eger. Topps wanted to make what Eger called a "big splash" in the category and saw Holmgren, the potential top pick in the '22 NBA Draft, as the perfect fit. Eger said, "Chet was one of the top prospects in the country. ... We believe his first Topps cards will be highly sought after by collectors and fans alike."