The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), a division of IMG Worldwide, and The Upper Deck Company, a leading producer of sports trading cards, announced today a multi-year agreement on behalf of more than 200 collegiate institutions for Upper Deck to be the exclusive licensee in the collegiate trading card category.
Collegiate trading cards, which feature former student-athletes in their collegiate uniforms, have been interspersed into professional trading card sets or distributed as standalone sets since 1996. In the past, most of these cards have been known as “draft pick” or “professional prospect” cards. Upper Deck’s program will look to expand upon the current usage of collegiate marks and put a new focus on the athletes’ collegiate accomplishments, as well as feature mascots, stadiums, and traditions unique to the college market.
"We believe that there are many opportunities in the collegiate trading card category that have not been fully realized, and Upper Deck shares our vision for expansion," said David Kirkpatrick, CLC's Vice President of Non-Apparel Marketing. "We are confident that fans will embrace this strategy, which will place a renewed focus on collegiate accomplishments in addition to a student-athlete's post-collegiate potential."
Upper Deck intends to expand its collegiate license beyond football and basketball to include sports such as hockey, baseball, lacrosse, swimming, and women’s basketball. Additionally, its sales distribution will extend into new collegiate markets such as bookstores and concession stands.
“We were very impressed with Upper Deck’s commitment to underscore the athlete’s collegiate successes,” added Craig Westemeier, Licensing Director for The University of Texas. “This expansion of card offerings coupled with the enhanced retail distribution should have a positive impact on the exposure of our brand and the collegiate trading card business as a whole.”
“Many of the best athletes in the world were leaders in college sports, and fans of those colleges passionately support their former players,” said Richard P. McWilliam, Upper Deck’s founder and CEO. “Upper Deck shares that commitment to the college market, and we plan to put the marketing resources in place to support both our trading card program and the college sports market overall.” McWilliam continued, “This move strengthens Upper Deck’s already firm position as the industry leader in delivering the most sought-after rookie cards in the market.”