Just as football is one of America’s most cherished pastimes, so is collecting your favorite athletes’ trading cards. In an industry filled with plenty of options, Panini stands above the crowd through unique promotions that pique collectors’ interest. Chief among them, of course, is the Panini NFL Player of the Day hobby shop promotion.
For more than two decades, enthusiasts across the country have participated in the promotion and earned more than two million prizes. Still going strong in 2023, the promotion saw more than 100,000 NFL card collectors take part through nearly 600 hobby shops from January through March. There could be only one grand prize winner, though, and that lucky youngster is Colton Smeltzer.
Announced as the winner on Aug. 13, the 14-year-old Smeltzer was surprised by Panini at a special event at his favorite hobby shop, JEKK Sports Cards in Ferndale, Wash. Not only was the eighth-grader informed that he won the grand prize, but he nabbed a swag bag filled with Panini apparel, trading cards and autograph editions of beautiful, limited-edition Player of the Day cards. And most exiting of all, he’ll get to spend a day with an NFL player.
Having started collecting just a year ago, Smeltzer began saving money by mowing lawns every week throughout the summer. He joined thousands of fellow collectors across the country when he pulled a Panini NFL Player of the Day in a pack of Panini NFL cards. From there, Smeltzer was randomly selected as the store’s grand-prize winner and was entered in the national sweepstakes with more lucky winners from the other shops.
“We are excited to create a special experience for Colton and his friends and family,” said Jason Howarth, senior vice president of marketing & athlete relations for Panini. “The Player of the Day grand prize is a great platform for us to further connect collectors with their favorite players and add unique cards and memorabilia to their collection.”