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Hobby Chatz - June 2024

Updated: Jun 26

Topps and Major League Soccer were gifted the marketing campaign of a lifetime when international superstar Lionel Messi signed with Inter Miami last summer.


Messi has claimed that Inter Miami will be the final club team he plays for professionally and that should allow Topps to create a retiring set that will sell like hot cakes when that time comes.


For now, Topps is taking advantage of the Messi hype through its Topps Now products and he’s obviously been a top-seller. Messi’s Topps now cards have all sold at least 2,600 copies and his products are the only one to eclipse 1,000 copies sold other than the infamous #55 Raquinho card that took over the internet a few weeks ago. 


If I were someone in charge at Topps, I would be telling the staff to ensure there is a Messi card every week in the MLS Topps Now products. Without Messi, there’s a good argument to end the MLS Topps Now program as a whole because of a lack of interest from consumers. Why not take advantage of a market that will never say no to more products featuring one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen?


Don’t believe me? Here are the print runs for all nine 2024 MLS Topps Now Messi cards:


#70, PR: 2855

#46, PR: 11,257

#43, PR: 2990

#38, PR: 3050

#36, PR: 2694

#31, PR: 4085

#12, PR: 6210

#9, PR: 7507

#1, PR: 11,899


Look, I understand if some of you are having Messi fatigue. It’s been a lot of noise about his greatness over the last 12 months despite being on a team that didn’t make the MLS Playoffs in 2023. He brings a massive crowd wherever he goes and all of us in the US need to embrace the journey that is watching this top-level footballer compete in his golden years as an athlete.


I witnessed this first-hand when Argentina played Ecuador at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 9. The crowd was chanting for Messi before kickoff even though he was on the bench, creating an atmosphere on the lakefront that I won’t soon forget. Once he entered the match, each touch was greeted with a wave of screams from the entire audience that was hoping the GOAT might rip a worldie from distance to extend his side’s lead. 


Messi comes with an entourage of collectibles and memorabilia wherever he goes. Souvenir trucks are covered with shirts, jerseys, scarves and whatever your heart could desire that feature the Messi name at each match he plays around the globe (they were selling a $200 Messi jersey at Soldier Field in Chicago). Fanatics have to find a way to capitalize on his popularity in a league that desperately needs the attention and Topps Now is the best they’ve done so far. 


Topps needs to embrace the Messi of it all in Major League Soccer. It’s the best way to grow their footprint in a league that is going to continue to grow over the next ten years even after Messi retires. 


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