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The sports merchandising world has changed tremendously in the last couple of years. The Supreme Court ruling in NCAA v. Alston allowed college athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), which created a Wild West for some athletes, especially football players, some of whom are earning six and seven figures.

On top of that, the sports trading card business, which some experts had written off as dead, has resurrected itself. Thanks to the integration of digital collectibles into the trading card world, that industry grew to a $4 billion dollar business in 2019, with expectations that it could grow to $62 billion by 2027.

Those two phenomena are coming together in a bit of marketing magic. Two leading companies are launching lines of trading cards featuring college football and basketball stars this fall, with athletes making money of their own from the use of their images.

“Fanatics Collectables and Topps have announced comprehensive agreements to produce collegiate football and basketball trading cards — partnerships that include nearly 150 universities and, separately, more than 200 name, image and likeness deals with athletes,” reports Dan Hajducky at ESPN.com.

Topps is one of the biggest names in trading cards, with a history dating back to 1938, and the company will market the cards under its Bowman University banner. Fanatics is the sports merchandise retailer that acquired Topps at the beginning of this year, and the company has made a mind-blowing amount of licensing deals with professional and college leagues lately.

“Both the schools and athletes benefit through rights fees and royalties paid on the sale of collegiate cards,” Fanatics Collectibles announced in a statement. “Higher profile universities and student-athletes command larger rights fees driven by demand from collectors.”

Related: The College Football National Championship Means Everything to the Georgia Bulldogs

A few of the biggest names from the gridiron and the basketball court will grace the first line of cards in the fall of 2022.

“Some athletes who will be featured on the fall 2022 offerings for football are 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, CFP National Championship-winning Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and USC quarterback Caleb Williams,” writes Hajducky. “Basketball stars include Duke’s Dereck Lively II, Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. and 2021 NCAA Division I women’s national championship-winning Most Outstanding Player Aliyah Boston of South Carolina.”

Topps has also secured exclusive rights to Power 5 schools like Georgia, Kentucky, Miami, Oregon, and Wisconsin starting next year, and more universities will be coming on board in 2025.

Fanatics sees the new line of trading cards as just the beginning in a line of memorabilia that will connect college sports fans with their favorite players in exciting and unprecedented ways.

“We felt the entire college NIL trading card category was an untapped area of the collector’s marketplace,” Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College, said to ESPN.

Eiler believes that the sky is the limit for college athletes and their ardent fans.

“You’ll have premier athlete image cards, autograph cards, player-worn memorabilia,” he predicted. “There are still some NCAA regulations in place in terms of ‘game-used’ memorabilia but ‘player-worn’ is a key area of focus for these collections.”

I’m a college sports fanatic — especially when it comes to my National Champion Georgia Bulldogs — so I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities. And I know I’m not alone.

If trading cards are just the beginning of new ways to bring fans closer to the games and personalities they love, the college memorabilia business is going to boom even more. The industry growth will benefit the schools and their athletes, and fans will be happy to have more swag in their hands. It’s a win-win for everybody.