Panini America Issues Statement Regarding NHL/NHLPA Licensing Situation

Panini America, the global leader in licensed sports and entertainment collectibles, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon in regard to the NHL/NHLPA license.

Panini America, the global leader in licensed sports and entertainment collectibles, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon in regard to the NHL/NHLPA license.

“We are disappointed to learn of the NHL and NHLPA’s decision to go in another direction in the trading card category,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “During the term of our agreement we faced many challenges, including a late start to the agreement and an NHL work stoppage. Through all of the challenges we established trading card hockey brands that collectors came to love and look forward to, including Dominion, Prime, Rookie Anthology, Limited and Totally Certified. Our marketing is unprecedented in the category, including activation and marketing support around the global NHL Premiere Games, the two All-Star Games that were played during our four-year agreement, Winter Classic, Heritage Classic, NHL Faceoff, NHL Draft, Stanley Cup and this year’s outdoor NHL Stadium Series. Our commitment and investment with NHL Teams and individual NHL Players to produce great Panini Hockey trading card products is unsurpassed in the trading card category and will continue to be until our license expires on June 30.”

“While we never like to lose a license that we were committed to, this decision gives us the opportunity to further enhance our other sports licensed products. We’ll continue to innovate and grow the trading card category for the NBA, NFL/NFLPA, MLBPA, 2014 FIFA World Cup and expand our strategic initiatives in these core sports on a global level.”


88 Replies to “Panini America Issues Statement Regarding NHL/NHLPA Licensing Situation”

  1. I’m disappointed to hear that Panini will be out of the hockey card business after this season. I’ve been a supporter of your products since you came on the scene in 2010-11 and I truly treasure some of the cards you’ve made of my favourite Canadiens players, from Certified to Crown Royale to Dominion to Prime. Best wishes to all of the hard-working individuals who comprise the Panini Hockey Team.

    This raises a lot of questions. I don’t know if you can answer them now, but I’m sure collectors would like to know.

    What happens to your 2013-14 product line? Do all planned releases for this card season have to be released prior to June 30th?

    What will happen with any redemption cards that collectors may pull from your current products? Will they be honoured after the June 30th date?

    It’s been an enjoyable four years of collecting Panini, and it’s unfortunate that it will be coming to an end soon.

  2. Panini is the worldwide leader in the industry without a doubt! I value the update keep the hit’s coming! I love Panini! I value the business & the way Panini has treated myself & my Ohana. It is a pleasure to be treated really well mahalo plenty Panini!

  3. Very sorry to hear this. I guess we can look forward to products being months late again from the other company.

    How will you be dealing with outstanding redemption’s? I have one from 2011 Dominion. (Peerless Patches)

  4. Come on !!!!!! NHL NHLPA whata thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have had so much hockey sell since Panini entered the market. Don’t ya know beautiful when you see it.Competition is key to success. So disappointed……………………

  5. so does that mean after june 30 there will be no new hockey release’s from Panini. also what about hockey redemptions from players who haven’t signed yet. this is a real bummer. panini hockey products are awesome, i’m freaking out right now.

  6. I know it always comes down to money, but from the viewpoint of spreading the word about the NHL, the players, and the game, I can’t understand this decision. Competition is vital to any industry, and this is no exception. Quality always goes down and prices go up with exclusive licenses.

    Panini has always treated me as a customer and not just a dollar sign. The turnaround time on redemptions is fantastic (with some exceptions), the customer service is outstanding, and you really get the sense that they are here to serve the collectors. Upper Deck, on the other hand, has an awful track record of redemption handling, won’t replace damaged cards fresh from a pack, and if you happen to pull a redemption from more than a year ago? Good luck on that. Panini has replaced redemptions dating back to before they bought the Donruss/Leaf brands. If that’s not customer service, then I don’t know what is.

    I’m sorry to see you go, in a perfect world we’d be able to choose from Panini, ITG, Topps, and UD. But this is the NHL/NHLPA’s world, and we’ve seen how much that can be motivated by greed. I haven’t bought any Upper Deck product dating back to when they got the first NHL exclusive license and you can be sure that I won’t start now.

  7. yea thats a shame – was looking at totally certified the other night at trade night and that by far was one of the nicest looking products i have seen in a while. Always liked panni stuff – the original stuff – lava flow rookie materials and all the cool expo and fan pack stuff you guys came up with. Not much into the other sports – might have to dip into something other then hockey……….its really a shame – sure i like to collect my young guns but at the same time i like the unique hockey cards you producted. not a good choice at all they made

  8. This is an outrage!!! Why do the leagues/players associations want to go exclusively with single card companies??? All it does is screw us collectors. You guys have done a stellar job with hockey cards over the past few years. My personal favorite was prime hockey and will really miss it. Thanks for making the best hockey cards out there! I do have a few questions though:

    1. What is the next step forward? Will you pursue this license again in a few years?
    2. Will the brands that were scheduled to come out before June 30th still be released?

    Thanks for the help and I’m sorry for your loss. The NHL/NHLPA has no idea what an incredible card company they’re losing.

  9. As a fan of your products this is a horrible business decision. Monopolies are what they are…bad for the consumer!! Does not seem like much collector input was even considered by this announcement?! Sorry having a one man show is not good for us the people who collect hockey cards. Obviously never heard of the olde saying competition is good for business? I believe competition to be just that…keep all sides on their toes when it comes to fresh new ideas and ground breaking innovation. Accountability goes out the window.
    I’m sorry I attend the Hockey expo every chance I get…mainly cause Panini America runs a great redemption program at their collector booth. I still hope that you guys continue to come up and support us. However I know with this announcement it’ll make it alot more difficult.

    I love your products, your innovation, visibility in the sports world and the many times your customer service has helped me out in the past. Please continue to hold your heads high fellas!! Still a loving and loyal customer to the Panini America brand!!

  10. Shocking that the NHL and PA would want to let a company with questionable business ethics be their exclusive licensee. Guess that back door is still open, only it’s $$$ going out this time.

      1. Great to know. This has happened before (exclusive agreement) and it didn’t last. I don’t see any reason why the same wont happen again.

  11. A horrible turn of events. Thank you for the hits (and even the misses) of the last few years. Looks like I’ll be spending even more on ITG in the coming year(s)!

  12. Horrible horrible news, I know most of you know I am a huge Panini fanboy, but when you cut off the company that has been working to grow the industry, hitting and promoting all the major events and sending an amazing group of people to promote card collecting, you hurt the industry and the collectors.

    Panini has done by far the most for this industry by promoting, innovating and supporting all levels for selling, breaking and collecting. I hate this has happened and will for sure affect my collecting of hockey cards as I found that Panini was always my go to products when I wanted to find the cards I wanted.

  13. You guys did a lot for the Hockey sports card experience. Thanks for all the awesome hockey card product you guy put out through the years. Some of my favorite releases of the year have been from the Panini hockey family. I will miss Dominion and Prime products the most. I tend to look at it the way you said later on in your post, that you will move your energy and production to the other sports and their respective releases. My collection is all over the place with sports and non sports cards, so I tend to feel for the die hard hockey guys and gals that will feel this more then others. Did someone else get the license Tracy and will be taking over the Hockey products?” I understand if you cant talk about it. Thanks for the information as always buddy. Look forward to the exciting changes in your other sports programs and will continue to support Panini forever. Till next time my friend take care, and give the Panini Hockey team some great feedback from us collectors and tell them we’re thankful for all the hard work.

  14. You have to say more then that. As a returning collector because of Pinnacle Im realy disappointed and I will not collect any other brand in the future. Sound like you gained the NBA license and now you sacrifice the NHL License and the fans who love panini hockey cards. Will be a long wait untill we can collect the wonderull brands with great heritage we have learned to love. Now use the tools to come back better then ever. you going to need it.

  15. Not a hockey fun, but still sorry to hear that! Panini became my favorite trading card company after i returned collecting basketball cards, probably mostly because of this blog, and also the fact that i see that people actually can reach you with their opinion, and you listen to it. For me personally it is not a loss, but i still sorry since i know it is a loss for Panini, and i guess it is also a loss for hockey card collectors.

  16. Am I the only one that has problems with redemptions that are already live and in stock? I redeemed a prime ties code weeks ago and all of those are supposedly in stock and it hasn’t shipped yet.

  17. This is utter bull. Panini hockey product is far superior to anything lower deck makes. This is a sad state of affairs when they make a deal like this and it appears no input from the collectors have even taken into account.
    I have always been and always will be a huge Panini fan. My hope is the NHL and NHLPA sees the error and how much revenue is lost when the fans start to leave.
    I will still look forward to my NFL and NBA fix.
    I have written to the NHL about this and I know I am only one person but if we all do maybe we can make a difference.
    Keep up the good word Panini .

  18. That’s terrible. I’ve always been a huge fan of Panini hockey cards. Time to go to Target and my LCS to stock up on some product to open in the future, I guess…

  19. It’s been said in this thread already, but I’m sorry to hear this news, for Panini and for collectors. I have been a huge fan of your hockey lineup for years and I think this was a terrible decision. I guess this gives me an opportunity to focus even more on the other 2 sports I collect (football and basketball), as this will likely mark the end of my hockey card collecting. Here’s hoping that Panini gets the opportunity to acquire the license at some point in the future. Keep up the great work!

  20. that stinks…even though i dont collect hockey i’ve always enjoyed seeing the vast array of hockey products Panini has released

  21. I was never into exclusive license anyhow. I wish all 3 had license to all 4 major sports. Competition breeds excellence, which makes it better for the consumer. I miss NFL Exquisite, and I miss the days when the same photo for a player wasn’t used in 4 different sets.

  22. I think it was your redemptions that hurt you, Alot of people have talked about bad redemptions & not getting their cards .

  23. Does this mean no Score hockey too? If so, I will surely miss that series, but will still support Panini by purchasing my Score NFL Football! 🙂

  24. If you can, please make hockey cards but without logos and stuff like that. Become like (I don’t know if I am allowed to say this but here it is) ITG. Make hockey cards without a license. Or get a license from AHL, WHL, or some other minor league. I am sorry to hear this. Big mistake by the NHL

    1. This!……I absolutely agree. Honestly if Panini was able to get the rights to the AHL, ECHL or even the USHL. I would gladly buy minor league hockey from Panini. ITG does the Canadian Junior Leagues, why not have a company do the the US junior leagues. There are a lot of talented kids taking that road nowadays too. Kids in the USHL prior to being drafted or committing to college. Most Recently Zemgus Girgensons played in the USHL before becoming a 1st round pick, playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Thomas Vanek once played for the Souix Falls Stampede and John Moore for the Chicago Steel. All went on to become 1st round picks. Joe Pavelski played for the Waterloo Blackhawks so there would be players to be had. The league is producing players.

      1. Just as another note another US player flying up the draft charts towards the top of the 2015 draft is Jack Eichel. Eichel has played in the USHL as well for the USNTDP. There are young stars and player worth collecting there.

      2. You could NOT sell USHL cards this way. These kids are amateurs. USHL teams have cards, but they give them away for promotions.

      3. Why not? Last I checked the kids playing Canadian major junior are amateurs as well. Those cards sell, what’s the difference.

  25. I’m very upset with the NHLPA decision… I mostly buy Panini because they give you good products for a fair value. The other company only looks at how little they can put in boxes and charge the customer a premium… As a collector I should have a choice of what company I want to support!!! Now I have one choice? I know once Panini is done in June I’m done buying hockey cards.
    This is probably the dumbest decision ever….. Plus how much will this affect the card shops???

  26. This is the worst news I’ve heard this year.

    Panini’s hockey products were the reason why I started collecting hockey cards. I have no doubt gotten more involved in supporting the NHL since Panini acquired the NHL license (my wife and kids can attest to that!).

    Upper Deck is old fashion. Go to their website, their main hockey pages are still advertising products that is years old! They don’t know how to use social media the creative ways Panini does. I’m sorry but this is a poor decision by the NHL and I hope they come back to the negotiating table to partner with Panini soon.

  27. I’m not a big hockey card collector, but I am terribly opposed to this continuing trend of one company exclusivity. But I’m glad to see you’re putting out quality baseball cards even without logos the new Donruss kicks a$$.

  28. I don’t know what’s left to say… Everything I wanted to say has been said.
    Panini is the reason I’m still a hockey card collector. I had gotten tired and bored of everything, then Panini came. Especially with my all time favourite Score.
    With all of the Promotions (Black Friday, Boxing Day, the Parties), I was excited about collection almost as much as when I was a kid. I wish it wasn’t just one company to create this excitement but it was!!

    My only questions now are Can Panini get licenses directly from each team (as how others have gotten directly from players)??

    Is there anything we as collectors can do?? Petitions, letters to the NHL &NHLPA?

  29. Wow, this sucks so hard. 🙁 I had only bought Panini hockey cards since they came onto the scene back in ’09 (only exception was just to get the UD promo cards at the NHL Draft when it was in Pittsburgh).

    Looks like I’ll not be buying any cards for a long time after June 30th except for an occasional pack of Panini Football cards. 🙁

    Stupid, stupid, stupid move NHL & NHLPA.

  30. When my box of score didn’t come with 2 autographs I dealt with customer service. Within a month I had my rookie autograph and to my surprise it was Mikhail Grigorenko. Coincidence I think not…..I firmly believe that customer service took a look at where I was from and made an educated guess that I was a sabres fan. Sure enough I am and it was the best autograph I could’ve been given. It’s a quick response and thoughtful responses like that that had me coming back time and time again to Panini…….this is Shameful!

  31. The nhl/nhlpa has no idea what their loosing. I mean why would they want to be exclusive to upper deck?? Like upper deck is a great card company but look at how big of an impact panini has had on the popularity of the NBA and NFL. Whatever its the NHL’s decision to leave and whenever a door shuts and new new one opens. I really hope panini goes off next year in basketball and football and destroy upper deck in sales. Make the nhl realize the errors of their ways.

  32. There goes another kick in the tush to the hobby. Exclusives really hurt this hobby just ask baseball card collectors. I loved Panini NHL cards! NHL and NHLPA made a bad decision here. There will be the same complaints as there is with MLB. Such a loss for the hobby and hopefully this will get realized in the future. I know though that you guys will find a way to turn this negative into a positive and can’t wait to see what you have in mind and to see rest of the NHL products that are coming out.

  33. Sorry to thear the news on this. I really enjoyed your NHL product and hope that sometime in the near future you will get back into this line of Product. Frankly the NHL needs you and your creative ideas. On the bright side – I look forward to your NFL product line now even more. Panini provides a great product and one I enjoy sharing with my kids.

  34. This is awful for you guys, I am sorry to hear this. Your work for hockey cards has been 2nd to none and the ability to push the industry forward has been an asset. We are going to miss you guys in hockey cards. Thank you to the entire hockey team for there outstanding work and products throughout the years, this is a sad situation for hobby collectors.

  35. This is a disgrace, I loved having competition between two major companies. As we all know competition breeds innovation and ultimately a better product for the customer. Now, prices can be “fixed” and we will have to settle for lesser products…This is a dark day in the community.

    Thank you for giving us great hockey cards for the past 4 years or so. It really created some excited with the competition aspect in the community.

    Thank you Panini for being the world leader in officially licensed collectibles

  36. Thank God !!!! Hopefully Upper Deck will get there licences and make more products next year. Panini never had the value of the same price point products as Upper Deck. I would rather buy a product of the same value and see the value in beckett be much higher.

  37. That sucks… I came back into collecting during the previous UD exclusive and it got really boring really quick with the exact same things year after year. No innovation. Only when Panini came in, did things start getting interesting. I hope after this exclusive period expires, they’ll open the license again. I’ll miss you guys!

  38. This suuuuuuuxxxxx 🙁
    Im a big fan all ur designs,its different,PRIME is the nicest product out there,ur customer service is #1 ….So so sad…
    U were obviously a huge threat to UD,thats why…..

  39. SAD day for collectors. Shame on the NHL and NHLPA.. Mediocrity has win again. Boy! Upper deck cards are mostly dull to look at, no originality. Sad sad sad

  40. Both companies still continue to struggle with the same issues. Redemptions, QC issues and boring designs. Giving it back to UD exclusively is going to seriously affect the market. Silly silly move! i cannot get my deceased Russian players redemption filled and its been 2 years, wtf?

  41. Oh well, it sucks BUT why not go out with a BANG boys………….Put together one huge , LOADED product for a late June release with whatever autos and memorabilia you have left and let those of us who enjoyed your NHL releases have one last hurrah !!!!

  42. This is such a greedy decision, monopoly = crap product at higher prices. It’s not like UD can get any crappier but I’m sure they will do their best!

    I’ve always been a huge Panini fan since I started collecting again but this is enough to make me hang it up again.

    UD is set to release MVP and OPC as their first release after the Panini license expires, what a joke! The two worst products produced! Panini actually cared about their customers unlike UD so I guess that’s why UD and the NHL make such a good couple, driven by greed and money. I myself will not be buying that UD junk, if Panini isn’t going to produce cards then I’ll be buying ITG! UD will ruin this industry again, just like they did in the 90’s. Wake me up in 2030 after the collapse!

  43. I Urge you to carry on with hockey products in some way. As a very popular hockey box breaker who basically did mostly Panini and ITG products anyway this will not effect me much except to boycott the failing UD products completely in the coming years. This was clearly the last ditch effort of a company that was well behind the curve that wants to eek out an existance. Long Live Panini! Down with lower schmeck.

  44. Eric B stole my thunder, I was going to say how disappointed I was in yet another sport electing to spurn it’s fans by going the way of an exclusive but I was optimistic to see a huge hit from the last product in the line. I know that 2005 Absolute Update baseball is still revered as one of the most legendary products of that generation, let’s match if not beat it with your last hockey release (unfortunately) for a while. Thanks Tracy!

  45. Overall, exclusive licenses just kill creativity, customer service quality and innovation. This is sad news, but I will be looking forward to the hockey releases from Panini coming out in the next few months!!

    Will you still have something at the NHL draft in Philadelphia in June??

  46. Shortsighted. Panini has never been accused of the things its competitors have, namely ripping off intellectual property it doesn’t own wink wink nudge nudge RIP McWilliams

  47. Just started collecting Panini hockey products as I find them to be superior to Upper Deck in design, value and innovation. Now with Panini leaving Upper Deck can just put it in cruise control and release mediocre products which is what made me stop collecting a while back. Bad decision by the NHL. There is a reason the government doesn’t allow monopolies to exist either.

  48. Panini is world class and it is a shame that the NHL, for whatever reason, made the wrong decision not to renew the NHL hockey product license. Perhaps after the tremendous success of the recent World Cup product – the NHL will take notice and regret that licensing decision. Panini had the intestinal fortitude to gamble on the WC and it paid off big time.

  49. It is a shame upper deck has the same card designs every year. The rookie cards are hard to come buy and the price is too high for not guaranteeing at least one auto. The trading card industry wonders why the market is failing the same card companies have dominated too long. I am big fan of panini your commitment to making cards I can buy for my kids is great. Upper deck ruined baseball cards and now they will continue to make overpriced sets for adults and not kids. Just to point out ITG was the best hockey company yours is very close though

  50. Is this why I can’t even sign into the redemption area of the Panini site. I have been trying to get in to check on the status of my redemptions but I keep getting bumped out. At least I’m reassured, by (Tracy Hackler) other comments I’m seeing, that Panini still plans to honor all redemptions. So sad to see Panini go.

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