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Volume 21 No. 1
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Topps cards to highlight Team USA

For the first time in more than 15 years, U.S. Olympic fans will be able to buy and trade cards featuring Olympians such as Michael Phelps and Hope Solo.

Topps, the trading card company, signed a licensing agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee that will put trading cards featuring more than 100 members of Team USA on the shelves of Wal-Mart, Target and hobby stores nationwide.
The last company to have a similar agreement was Upper Deck from 1993 to ’96.

The deal gives Topps its fourth major sports partnership. It also has licensing agreements in place with MLB and the NFL and UFC.

“The Olympics are rare,” said Joe Ribando, director of player licensing for the Topps Co. “There’s a patriotic element to it. The interest level is always high and there’s always a lot of great buzz around it. We think this collectible item is going to resonate, as well.”

Topps struck a traditional licensing agreement with the USOC and worked with the organization to sign separate agreements with the 100-plus athletes who

will be featured in the card packages. The packs will cost approximately $3 at retail and a portion of each purchase will provide direct support to the USOC.

In addition to Phelps and Solo, Olympians such as Abby Wambach, Allyson Felix, Lolo Jones, Ryan Lochte and others will be featured on cards. Select packs of cards will feature the autograph of high-profile Olympians such as Phelps.

Topps will put trading cards featuring (from left) Hope Solo, Allyson Felix and Michael Phelps on store shelves at Wal-Mart, Target and hobby store locations nationwide.

“It’s names that have resonated in the past and newer names that we think will be up and coming in 2012,” Ribando said.

Peter Zeytoonjian, USOC managing director of consumer products, put the deal together with Topps. He previously worked at the NFL and has played a role in putting together other recent licensing agreements, such as last year’s USOC deal with Oakley.

Zeytoonjian said the USOC opted to do the deal because the trading cards offered a way for Americans to support and learn more about the athletes representing the country at the London Olympics.