NFL & Panini America officially confirm exclusive licensing deal

nfl-panini-logo-blogOne of the hobby’s most chattered-about deals is now official.

Panini America and the NFL have signed a multi-year exclusive deal for trading cards and stickers that will begin before next year’s NFL Draft. Combined with a previous exclusive with the NFLPA that was announced in August 2014, Panini will be the only company that will make fully licensed football cards beginning next year.

“This announcement symbolizes a landmark achievement for Panini America, and we are extremely proud to be awarded the exclusive license for traditional trading cards and stickers,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a prepared release. “We are committed to continue building compelling products that honor and celebrate the NFL and look forward to working closely with the NFL to continue to grow the football trading card category in the U.S. and globally.”

The company recently launched Panini Gridiron as its digital trading card phone app, which will also be part of the deal — but not on an exclusive basis.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Panini America in order to better serve NFL fans, from children opening their first packs to long-time hobby collectors,” said Leo Kane, the NFL’s Senior Vice President for Consumer Products. “Since entering the U.S. market in 2009, they have proven to be leaders in product development, innovation and marketing, and we look forward to working together to continue to grow the football trading card category.”

Topps, which had shared the licenses with Panini, has produced football cards for the last 60 years and has maintained it will release football cards of some type moving forward.

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