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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Crime/Public Safety

New Zags trading cards on sale as March Madness grips fans

March 13, 2023 Updated Mon., March 13, 2023 at 10:05 p.m.

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team is for sale at Rosauers in the largest printing of trading cards of a college basketball team since the advent of “name, image and likeness” rules in college athletics.

Boise-based company ONIT Athlete released 10,000 of the new card packs exclusively at Rosauers on Monday. The cards also can be purchased online .

Each $13 pack includes 14 cards from the team’s entire roster, with a 1-in-5 chance for an autographed card from either Drew Timme, Rasir Bolton, Ben Gregg, Anton Watson, Nolan Hickman or Hunter Sallis. ONIT says more sets of the Gonzaga team have been printed than of any other college basketball team.

“This is the biggest deal that’s ever been done for college basketball cards,” said Sheridan Hodson, ONIT Athlete co-founder.

Following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2021, student -athletes can profit from their name, image and likeness for licensed products sold through colleges.

“We’re still fairly early on in name-image-likeness in legitimate business opportunities, but deals like these are gonna be on the forefront,” Hodson said. “The difference is we’re heavy on the player payment option.”

For the Zags, that means every athlete earned at least $1,800 right off the bat for the new trading cards, Hodson and Chad McCloud, the other ONIT co-founder, said. Timme earned $4,300, they said.

“The percentages we pay athletes are some of the highest cuts for name-image-likeness deals,” Hodson said. “On these deals, our base pay is 30% . A lot of sales for products, it’s very common to see 4%-8% .”

Athletes are also encouraged to sell the trading cards through their own online platforms. Players get 46% of those sales, Hodson said.

“It’s a substantial amount we give to the players,” he said. “It’s also us helping to teach them how to market themselves.”

McCloud and Hodson are treading mostly new ground as they wade through the different regulatory processes at different athletic programs across the country in search of new deals.

Hodson estimated only about 25% of NCAA Division I teams have trading cards, and those don’t include full-team deals like Gonzaga’s.

ONIT Athlete also recently released trading cards for the University of Alabama basketball team, the NCAA Tournament top seed, as well as for the University of Washington football team and the entire Boise State athletics department.

“They’re sustainable because every year there is new team and new card designs,” Hodson said of the trading card deals.

McCloud and Hodson said they began looking to Gonzaga for a potential deal about a month ago.

The Gonzaga cards include standard cards, the cartoon-like “icon” cards, premium “blackout” series cards and autographed cards. Ten gift cards were also inserted into 2,500 of the card packs, according to a release from the company.

“We really want it to be an annual thing we can put together for the team,” Hodson said.

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