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The New Age of Trading Cards: Leaf Trading Cards

By Jake Krieger

Leaf Trading Cards, an established trading card company, has started to make its stake in the NIL business. Focusing on all types of sports, delving into the NIL space is par for the course for brands in the sports industry. With deals around some of the biggest names in the game like Olivia Dunne and Michigan Football, Leaf is cementing itself as the go-to brand for college sports cards and memorabilia. While working with these big names has established them, working with smaller athlete creators in niche sports has been an important part of their development.

Leaf’s work with athletes such as Paige Bueckers, Olivia Fabry, and Alyss Utsby is a select few of the athletes that they have dealt with to create cards of their likeness. In the sports card industry, we are typically fascinated with the best autographs and biggest names but Leaf has made an effort to create market importance for female athletes in the space. Leaf is extremely proud to be a space for female athletes to develop in the trading card space. CJ Breen, the Director of Marketing and Licensing, was quoted during an interview with Sports Illustrated saying, “[Leaf] has not only taken significant strides forward but has also adopted an innovative approach to enhance the visibility of female athletes on trading cards.”

Leaf’s focus on more niche athlete creators is based on the dominance of personalities rather than specifically focusing on an athlete’s play. They’ve found a lot of success in working with these creators in niche markets because of their social following. Deciding to build out their NIL team through creative means such as limited run cards, autographed cards, and signed memorabilia. 

When discussing how brands treat their NIL deals with a truly developing format in the space, sports cards are a subsect

or of the sports industry that has slowly weaned out of the limelight. Leaf’s impact in introducing the fastest-growing subsector of the NIL space could be a firestarter in the main zeitgeist of collegiate sports.

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