NBA All-Star Blake Griffin Signs Exclusive Multi-Year Deal with Panini America

April 07, 2011

Panini America, the world’s largest sports and entertainment collectables company and the NBA’s exclusive trading card and sticker partner, has inked Los Angeles Clippers slam-dunk sensation Blake Griffin to an exclusive multi-year agreement.

Griffin joins a growing roster of exclusive athletes that are part of the Panini family, including five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick of the Washington Wizards in the 2010 NBA Draft. Panini originally signed Griffin to an exclusive rookie deal for the 2009-10 season when Griffin was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, but Griffin’s season ended early due to injury.

“Panini America will forever hold a special place for me because it’s the company that helped make a dream come true by producing my first NBA trading cards,” Griffin said. “The opportunity to join the Panini family and work with a company that is at the forefront of innovation and has reinvigorated the trading card category is special.”

As part of the exclusive multi-year agreement, Griffin’s autographs and memorabilia will be found only in Panini products. He also will be featured on Panini products and packaging, as well as in Panini’s national advertising, marketing and social media initiatives.

Griffin and his Panini America teammates will be the faces of the company’s new Panini Authentic memorabilia division that launches next month. In addition, all four exclusive Panini athletes will be highlighted in the much-anticipated Panini HRX, the industry’s first video trading cards that have been in development for the last 18 months and are designed to bring collectors closer to the athletes with unique behind-the-scenes content and individualized footage.

One of the most talked-about talents in the NBA this season with slam dunks routinely featured in national highlights, Griffin also has had success away from the court, igniting the trading card world and becoming a favorite of collectors. His Panini-produced Rookie Cards from the 2009-10 National Treasures basketball set have sold for as much as $4,000 this season. Scarcer copies of the card have fetched as much as $7,000.

Panini America is the only company in the world that manufactures fully licensed trading cards and stickers for the NFL, NFL PLAYERS, NHL, NHLPA, NBA and FIFA World Cup. The company also owns exclusive entertainment licenses with Disney, Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson, and more than 600 global licenses with other sports and entertainment properties.

“Blake has captured the imagination of millions of people across the world this season – fans and non-fans alike – and we saw him as a must-have player,” said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. “His unique blend of athleticism, power and tenacity make him an unparalleled talent on the court. We’re thrilled to have him join our family.”

Panini America became the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA beginning with the 2009-10 season. The Panini Group purchased the industry’s second-oldest trading-card company, Donruss, in March 2009 and formed the new subsidiary, Panini America, Inc. Since that time, Panini has taken significant steps to fortify its position in the sports card category as a whole and the basketball landscape in particular, including an exclusive relationship with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.