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Breaking: NFL Players Inc., Panini America Announce Exclusive Long-Term Agreement

July 31, 2014

NFLPA and Panini

NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, and Panini America, the world’s largest sports and entertainment collectibles company, announced today that the two entities have entered into an exclusive long-term and industry-shaping agreement that will make Panini America the sole manufacturer of NFLPA-licensed trading cards and collectible stickers beginning with the 2016 NFL season.

“We feel very confident in Panini America’s ability to deliver quality and value to consumers at all levels, while providing long-term stability to the football trading card category,” said NFLPI President Keith Gordon. “Significant investments in product innovation, quality, authenticity and creative player marketing have endeared Panini to the existing fan base, while actively cultivating the next generation of collectors.”

The historic announcement was made Thursday during a special luncheon at The Westin in downtown Cleveland featuring ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz and officials from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Pop Warner, NFLPI, Panini America and trading card distributors. Prior to the announcement, with Pop Warner players on hand, Panini awarded a helmet equipment grant to Pop Warner’s Northeast Ohio Pop Warner Association on behalf of Panini and Panini Authentic exclusive athlete, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“This is a monumental announcement for Panini America and we are honored to have earned this exclusive long-term agreement with NFL Players Inc.,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “It’s a tremendous honor to be moving forward on an exclusive basis and it will give us greater ability to work together more strategically at growing the football trading card and sticker category.”

Panini has exclusive deals with NFLPI, NBA and FIFA World Cup. The exclusive long-term investment with NFLPI positions Panini to further its global expansion of the football trading card and sticker business.

The Panini Group, established almost 50 years ago in Modena, Italy, has subsidiaries throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States. Panini is the world leader in officially licensed collectibles and is the most significant publisher of collectibles in the U.S., with official licenses for NBA, NFL, NFLPA, NHL, NHLPA, FIFA, MLBPA, Disney, Warner Bros., and other key properties from many other licensors. Panini is also the exclusive trading card and sticker partner of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Panini has distribution channels in more than 100 countries and employs a staff of over 800. For more information visit us at, or You can also follow Panini America on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

NFL Players Inc. is the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association. NFLPI has been a trusted resource since 1994, delivering access to the influence, power and personal stories of NFL players. NFLPI is a “one-stop shop” for businesses seeking licensing rights, access to players through hospitality and events, marketing strategy and player procurement. For more information, please visit​

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Living the dream in Hawaii permalink
    July 31, 2014 11:58 am

    Congratulations to Panini!

  2. mikeyz84 permalink
    July 31, 2014 12:13 pm

    I still don’t get why there has to be a “sole” license awarded to just one company. Like how UD got the “sole” NHL license versus Having 2 or 3 companies awarded a license. Either way, Panini is no doubt the best one out there, and treats its collectors the best, so congrats!

  3. July 31, 2014 12:17 pm

    They made the right choice!!! I’m super stoked! GREAT NEWS!

  4. July 31, 2014 12:19 pm

    All I hope, is that this will mean more on-card autographs. I don’t think anyone will argue, regardless how much we like Panini products, that Topps chrome and their on-card autographs are a staple in this category. So, if that’s gone, let’s at least get something comparable like making Panini Prizm with on-card autographs instead of a ton of no-name player stickers. There’s a lot of potential here for growth, and I sincerely hope that Panini will continue to innovate and bring us more great products, even with less competition in the NFL card market. Congratulations Panini! This certainly is a major announcement, and I’m glad because you guys have 100000000000000000% better customer service than Topps, and you have many products I do very much enjoy like Absolute, Contenders, and National Treasures, among others (simply pointing out my favorites). I know you’ll do the right thing and continue to grow the hobby in many different ways. Once again, congratulations!

  5. July 31, 2014 12:38 pm

    Reblogged this on Locating Frankenstein's Brain.

  6. Lindas1st permalink
    July 31, 2014 2:01 pm

    What about the NFL license? Will that be exclusive as well or not- allowing another company to make NFL cards without designating the players? Sort of like Fleer’s 1970’s & 80’s NFL Team Action Cards.

  7. Walker N. permalink
    July 31, 2014 3:57 pm

    This is not what football collectors want, or any sports card collectors for that matter.

  8. Ryan Q permalink
    July 31, 2014 3:57 pm

    I couldn’t be happier about this announcement!!! I’ve never collected hockey but I was sad to hear when Panini lost the NHL. I primarily collect football and worried this would happen too. Luckily for me Panini was the company that got the NFL licensing and not one of the other card companies. From personal experience Panini is by far the best when it comes to card quality, value, listening to the customers, customer interaction, and most importantly customer service. This company gets it. So congrats to everyone at Panini and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!!!

  9. August 1, 2014 1:19 am

    Another exclusive. good or bad? I just wish the companies could share some realy known product names with eachother. one or two so collectors can stay true to one name threw all years. something like “we let you have one if we can have one of yours”. anwy. good deal. Now show the other leagues why you got this exclusive and blow them away.

  10. Ryan permalink
    August 3, 2014 12:09 am

    Sad day for trading cards. I wouldn’t want one car company, why one card company?

  11. August 3, 2014 11:19 am

    Just sent all my football cards to COMC. Done collecting football. Nothing but sticker autos from Panini.

    • August 4, 2014 11:30 am

      Guess you’e never seen Contenders…or NT…or Spectra…need I continue…what we need is more on-card from the non-rookie premiere players, so that guys like Kiko Alonso who blow up have some nice on-card autos. In theory, since they have an exclusive now, they should be able to get more on-card. Prizm is the only product I really have an issue with as far as the stickers go because literally EVERYTHING is stickers, but in most other products there’s a good mix. I think you’re taking it a little too far…look at Topps’ products…Topps Chrome aside, their stuff is/was full of stickers too!

  12. August 4, 2014 6:01 am

    Huge announcement, this seems to be the trend all major sports entities are following and I’m glad Panini was able to land this deal. I can’t imagine what collecting would be like going forward without Panini football cards. Thanks Tracy!

  13. djdavyb permalink
    March 6, 2015 6:32 pm

    AWESOME News Panini! Congrats!!


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