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Panini America On Location: The Sights and Sounds from Day 3 at the 2011 National

August 5, 2011

Chicago-based freelance writer Dan Campana contributed to this report and will file updates and images to The Knight’s Lance throughout the week. 

ROSEMONT, Ill. — It shouldn’t be this simple. But for one lucky Panini America collector late Friday morning, it was.

Chicago-area hobbyist Dan Piehl walked up to Panini America’s Tracy Hackler innocently enough. He just wanted to say hello, shake a hand and talk about the hobby.

Minutes later, Piehl joined Hackler and Scott Prusha for a special episode of Panini Unwrapped at the Panini America booth on the floor of the 32nd Annual National Sports Collectors Convention.

Oh, and they were breaking none other than 2010-11 National Treasures Basketball — and Piehl walked away with the goods, including autographs and jersey cards from Dolph Schayes, Connie Hawkins, George Gervin and Kobe Bryant.

“People really do win,” Hackler said as the trio cracked into a pair of boxes.

In the bigger scheme of things, the Panini America crew truly has enjoyed its visit to the 2011 National, which has been busy since the doors opened on Wednesday but especially so on Friday — when the line to participate in the company’s popular wrapper-redemption program stretched beyond the cavernous boundaries of the corporate booth.

“The whole show, for us, is so important, so vital, because we get to interact with the people who support us all year long,” Hackler said.

The feeling is mutual. Not only were collectors ripping mass quantities of basketball, football and hockey all around Panini’s booth, they were also complimenting Panini America’s innovation and ability to cater to all types of collectors.

On one side of the table, collectors talked up how they appreciated the company’s stepped-up approach to retail products by including autographs in boxes. On the other side, a father-son duo complimented Panini America for continuing to improve the high-end National Treasures Football product.

But don’t take our word for it. Stop by the company’s energy-filled booth this weekend for wrapper redemptions and box wars to see for yourself. You never know what you might walk away with.

Right now, though, you can walk away with the following video and gallery showcasing just some of Friday’s highlights.

79 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2011 6:00 pm

    man Im going to vacation to Chicago, just one month too late for this, Orlando, FL never has anything like this!

  2. Rob - Cardsnwine permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:02 pm

    Great Pictures ans Videos! Really wish I could have been there. Thank for your coverage its been great. Glad to see so much interest in your products. Keep up the good work

  3. Billy Yates-Matoy permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:10 pm

    I love the player sketch cards. they really give you an idea of what the players think about and they poor it out on the card, some think very simply and others think very complicated. If I was there I would be sprawled out on the floor to with a mountain of card wrappers all around me. Would you let me put a tent up in front of your booth so I could sleep there?

  4. MICHAEL RUNYON permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:13 pm

    this is really cool, I hope to go one day, really wish they would move it more. Charlotte would be agreat place to have it

  5. Aitor permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:15 pm

    wow a lot of famous youtubers there

  6. August 5, 2011 6:15 pm

    Man it looks like so much fun just getting to open tons of packs! Especially with the company execs right there to talk about the products! Nice job guys ^_^

  7. Cody permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:26 pm

    Love the superman backpack in the 1st photo.

  8. James H permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:28 pm

    Looks like fun! Hopefully I can attend next year!

  9. Nathan Bannister permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:28 pm

    Wow, it would have been great to be that guy.
    1. You’re at the National 2. You get to meet Tracy 3. You get to participate in an episode of Panini Unwrapped. 4. You get to open National Treasures and 5. You get to keep the cards!
    What more could any collector want?

  10. Steve dorman permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:32 pm

    I want to be their!!!!!

  11. jared bosianek permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:39 pm

    man, i wanna go. although i do live in australia, so its a fair trek across the other side of the world. one day..

  12. August 5, 2011 6:48 pm

    Very cool! wish I could go. I’d love to break some high-end products with the people who created them!

  13. Tom L permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:57 pm

    I really wish I was there!!! It’d be a blast to look through all the sketch cards and even try to break some packs for one. Great job!

  14. August 5, 2011 7:32 pm

    Thanks for taking us there! Brings out the kid in everyone. And its a cool way for family members to bond. Except when Mike said, “Don’t tell my wife about the money”. Cause that is everyone’s problem too! LOL! Good job, Panini!

  15. Jeff K permalink
    August 5, 2011 9:06 pm

    Definitely a once in a lifetime experience for Dan. Very cool for him.

  16. Robert Pihokker permalink
    August 5, 2011 9:34 pm

    so jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! would love to open some of the shiny foil packs myself!!!

  17. August 5, 2011 9:45 pm

    That looks like some real fun.

  18. August 5, 2011 9:59 pm

    wish I was there

  19. Pete Borini permalink
    August 5, 2011 10:07 pm

    Wish I was there–I love the Panini lineup this year–especially the 2011 Football releases. Keep it coming!

  20. August 5, 2011 10:09 pm

    Would love to be there just to take in the sights. There’s got to be some amazing stuff to look at. Heck, just seeing the PSA 9 Mantle that’s there would be great.

  21. August 5, 2011 10:42 pm

    I wish i can go next time !!!!!!!!!!!

  22. ESmith permalink
    August 5, 2011 10:51 pm

    Looks like a blast! The sweet sound of crackling opened packs is music to my ears.

  23. August 5, 2011 10:51 pm

    wish I could make the Nationals sometime. Love the pics of the wrappers just piled up and up and up ….

  24. Scott Owen permalink
    August 5, 2011 11:13 pm

    Can’t beleive Im missing this show. Looks like a blast!

  25. Roger V. permalink
    August 5, 2011 11:27 pm

    Tracy, you have to have one of the best jobs in the world….I put it right up there with getting paid to play a game every day….and its really cool to see the company giving back to the devoted collectors who love the brand and products. Wish I was there!

  26. August 5, 2011 11:45 pm

    The Nationals sure do look like a lot of fun! When I have the chance to go, I’ll try to get myself a box of cards. 😀

  27. Darrl permalink
    August 5, 2011 11:59 pm

    Sweet! Makes me wanna reserve a flight and hotel for next years convention !

  28. Bruce Sims permalink
    August 6, 2011 12:02 am

    I’m not sure i like the pics or videos! LOL. They are making me wish i could have gone this year. You guys are doing a great job covering the action and keeping us informed. Thanks

  29. Brad Absher permalink
    August 6, 2011 1:57 am

    This is cool. I actually know several of the guys in these pictures.

  30. Jen permalink
    August 6, 2011 2:48 am

    very cool !

  31. August 6, 2011 4:43 am

    Great to see that fathers and sons getting into it and making it a family thing.

  32. August 6, 2011 6:20 am

    Loving all these recaps of the big event. It’s so cool to see so many hobbyists coming together and sharing the good vibes.

  33. Scott permalink
    August 6, 2011 8:05 am

    Looks like a great show! Wish I could have attended the convention! Keep posting the updates guys!

  34. August 6, 2011 8:28 am

    Wow! Wish something like this would come to Florida! Being 15 I can’t travel that much though just for a card show. Family would never let me. Keep posting updates though love seeing the pictures!

    Thanks for the contest by the way.

  35. Keri permalink
    August 6, 2011 9:38 am

    Really wish I was there. Can’t wait for it to come to Cleveland

  36. William McCanless permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:33 am

    Thanks for the video and all the pictures of the National…this is the next best thing for those of us that can’t make it! The daily updates from the National is first class, please don’t stop! Thanks Panini!

  37. Benjamin permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:40 am

    Looks like tons of fun!
    Really wish I could be there…
    Thanks for sharing all the photos with us!

  38. dakota permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:51 am

    Wow looks like alot of fun hope everyone is having a great time. wish i could be there with you all.

  39. Brett permalink
    August 6, 2011 12:14 pm

    I wish i was able to go. It looks like so much fun. Tons of people opening boxs. Good stuff!

  40. August 6, 2011 12:43 pm

    We need some of these conventions in Texas

  41. Jamie permalink
    August 6, 2011 12:46 pm

    Man I wish I was there. Thanks for the pics!

  42. Brandon permalink
    August 6, 2011 1:28 pm


  43. August 6, 2011 2:32 pm

    Some really great pics! 😀

  44. George permalink
    August 6, 2011 4:10 pm

    Hope to make it to a Convention some day. That is just awesome.

  45. Rob Gilbert permalink
    August 6, 2011 5:09 pm

    Wow Dan congrats on your pulls with Tracy. Sounds like a real good box of National Treasures. I just purchased one myself recently with a Kobe Bryant auto and a Derrick Rose Auto number 1 of 10. That would have been a awesome pull at the show in Chicago..Except I couldn’t make it…just my luck.

  46. jeff thoms permalink
    August 6, 2011 7:08 pm

    I wish i was able to go, but i had to go out of town for work. Panini looks like they did a great job, and what a pack redemption program. i went to the last national in chicago and no card company created as much buzz as panini. great job guys

  47. Tim permalink
    August 6, 2011 7:25 pm

    Would love to be there!!!

  48. Rob permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:26 pm

    Looks fantastic, wish I could have went!

  49. Zabrian permalink
    August 6, 2011 11:12 pm

    Looks so awesome!! i hope to go next year and hopefully i do but tracy keep up the good work your doing an amazing job right now!!!

    • August 6, 2011 11:55 pm

      Really appreciate the kind words, man. Panini America is a tremendous company to work for and I’m having a blast.

  50. Kwb permalink
    August 7, 2011 8:26 am

    Gold standard looks nice. U can never go wrong with gold!

  51. Kwb permalink
    August 7, 2011 8:45 am

    Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. Oklahoma conection. There is a lot of talent in OK. National treasures basketball. Give it an A

  52. August 7, 2011 12:00 pm

    Glad to see the booth so full.

  53. August 7, 2011 12:26 pm

    Wow! That’s a pretty long line at your booth.

  54. August 7, 2011 7:42 pm

    Really like the sketch card with Blaine G. Thanks for letting us who can’t make the National feel like we are in your booth! Keep up the great work Panini!

  55. Ryan Chan permalink
    August 8, 2011 5:30 am

    Gold Standard looks sweet, wish there was a Jeremy Lin card in it though. But I’ll make sure to chase down his singles in NT!

  56. James M permalink
    August 8, 2011 6:06 am

    Wrappers, wrappers, everywhere! Who wouldn’t want to be able to bust those many packs! Hey Tracy, hope they didn’t make you clean up all the wrappers that didn’t make it into or fell out of the garbage cans every night. 😛

    Would love to get into a box war with somebody one day. haha.

  57. August 8, 2011 9:06 am

    The carnage of the wrappers is great! I laughed right outloud when I saw the “lucsious locks” caption on the Gabbert card!

  58. August 8, 2011 9:50 am

    Great showing by Panini!

  59. Louis2142 permalink
    August 8, 2011 10:48 am

    Looks like a great show! Wish I could have attended the convention! Im there next year, think its in Maryland.

  60. Gridiron-Gladiators permalink
    August 8, 2011 2:44 pm

    Thats how all Booths should look! Good job guys!

  61. Hunter permalink
    August 8, 2011 3:32 pm

    Panini’s booth was definitely the highlight of the show for me!

  62. August 8, 2011 4:09 pm

    Cool player sketch cards!

  63. Max permalink
    August 8, 2011 4:59 pm

    that blaine gabber is so nice

  64. Jon Nelson permalink
    August 8, 2011 10:41 pm

    That Looks Legend…..Wait For It…..Dary

  65. Todd W. permalink
    August 8, 2011 10:59 pm

    Dangit I was so jealous watching all this stuff! I did receive my Demeco Ryans redemption today though!

  66. Tim permalink
    August 9, 2011 7:50 am

    I hope to see you guys next year in Baltimore.

  67. Richard permalink
    August 9, 2011 8:43 am

    Sigh.. Wish I was there..

  68. Matt Gilman permalink
    August 9, 2011 9:19 am

    Looks like so much fun!!

  69. August 9, 2011 10:55 am

    One day I’ll make it out to one of these. The guy going through his stack of NT FB was pretty cool–some beautiful patches. It’s surprising just how many card collectors there are out there as well, seeing as how the people represented at the convention are only a fraction of our numbers!

  70. Tony permalink
    August 9, 2011 8:23 pm

    Wish i could go

  71. Reg permalink
    August 10, 2011 11:57 am

    i wish i was there

  72. August 13, 2011 3:05 pm

    Wish I could’ve been at Nationals with you guys

  73. Andrew permalink
    August 16, 2011 12:49 am

    Looks like fun. A few thousand $ would make 4 a great time!


  1. Can’t Make It to The National? Then Panini America is Bringing The National to You. « The Official Panini America Blog
  2. Panini Doing It Right at the 2011 National « – Sports Card Blog – Your Source of Hobby News, Reviews, Previews, and Opinion

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