Premier League cuts deal with Fanatics as trading card provider

The English Premier League and Fanatics have announced that, starting in June 2025, Fanatics Collectibles will become the exclusive provider of EPL trading cards, trading card games and stickers in a multi-year deal.

“We are delighted to welcome Fanatics as the official sticker and trading card licensee of the Premier League from season 2025/26,” Premier League Chief Commercial Officer Will Brass said in a statement. “They bring an outstanding track record and strong commitment to innovation, helping fans all over the world express their passion for the sports they love.”

Financial details of the deal were not available.

“When you look at the IP that’s out there, the Premier League is a property that we see a huge opportunity — under-exploited opportunity really,” said David Leiner, Fanatics Collectibles’ president of trading cards told ESPN. “I think the Premier League was really intrigued by not only what Fanatics could do for the category of collectibles, but what we’ve been doing with player relationships: Tom Brady, Julio Rodriguez, Ronald Acuña Jr.”

Leiner said that Fanatics will be emphasizing global distribution, business-to-business, working with UK-based hobby shops and breakers to give trading cards a bigger footprint on the other side of the pond, where stickers have been a dominant collecting force for decades.

“Panini’s first World Cup [stickers were] in 1970, first Euro was 1980, and any fan — the Panini sticker albums were a massive part of the preparation before any tournament [because] before the age of the Internet, you’d never seen these faces,” Greg Lansdowne, the author of Stuck on You: The Rise and Fall…and Rise of Panini Stickers, told ESPN. “[They] enjoyed a renaissance when the ’80s children became adults, the Germany 2006 World Cup, and from there it’s snowballed. The World Cup album is as big as ever and in more countries than ever.”

Topps was a Premier League partner from 1994 to 2019; Panini won the license in late 2018 and started producing EPL cards for the 2019-20 season. The EPL and Panini even renewed their license in late 2021.

“When you look at North America, we’re all about trading cards, but we see stickers — a great on-ramp for young collectors — trading card games, and trading cards, especially in places like Europe, playing well together,” Leiner says. “We’re at 70 different hobby shows across the globe and many of those are in Europe. There are definitely dozens of stores [there[, but not hundreds or thousands like you see in the United States.

“But we’re developing; our business in Europe, it’s big — you’d be surprised if you knew the numbers — but we’re seven minutes into the match. There’s so much ahead of us.”

Just months after Fanatics acquired Topps for roughly $500 million in January 2022, Topps replaced Panini as UEFA’s producer of European Championship stickers for the 2024 and 2028 men’s Euros — as well as the 2025 women’s Euros and Nations League Finals through 2028. Panini can produce NBA cards through 2025, but in 2026, Fanatics has deals in place with the NFLPA, NBA and NBAPA and acquired the MLB and MLBPA license early through its purchase of Topps.

Now they add the English Premier League, whose — according to Nielsen ratings — five highest-watched matches of all-time occurred in 2023, the same year the league opened a New York-based office. The EPL extended its broadcast rights with NBC for six years in 2021, a deal worth north of $2.5 billion.

“People don’t like change [and] they’re just coming to terms with losing European Championship rights [here],” Lansdowne says. “Potentially it will hit older collectors more than younger — younger U.K. collectors are just as conversive with Topps as Panini — but I’m sure Fanatics will do a great job as they’ve done with the Champions League.”