A League of His Own

Ira Friedman, vice president, global licensing, Topps, is a fan of fandom, which helps the trading card company put passion behind its profits.
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License Global

July 8, 2021

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The Topps Company is a creator and brand marketer of physical and digital sports cards, entertainment cards and collectibles and confectionery products founded in 1938. A benchmark of a brand’s popularity is the appearance on a trading card – and chances are they’ve collaborated with Topps. The list of sports and entertainment companies working with Topps is extensive: Major League Baseball, Disney, Major League Soccer, UEFA Champions League, Marvel, Bundesliga, “Star Wars,” WWE, and Formula 1. In addition, Topps is a licensor representing properties like Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages and Mars Attacks.

The company also produces sticker album collections and collectibles, including apps such as “Topps Bunt,” “Topps Huddle,” “Topps Kick” and “Topps Star Wars Card Trader.” In October 2007, Topps was acquired by Michael D. Eisner’s Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners. The company also owns confectionery brands including RingPop, Push Pop, Baby Bottle Pop, Juicy Drop Pop and Bazooka bubble gum.


Friedman, vice president, global licensing, Topps, started his career in publishing, working in circulation, which gave way to publishing fan-based magazines such as Starlog and Fangoria. He then went on to work at Lucasfi lm to helm the “Star Wars” fan club. Friedman pitched a publishing idea to Topps in the late 1980s which ultimately led to an executive leadership position for more than 30 years. Of course, it helps that Friedman is a loyal supporter of Topps’ brands for lasting relationships.


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