Panini Announces NFLPA Exclusive Starting in 2016

Panini Announces NFLPA Exclusive Starting in 2016

Although it had been rumored for several weeks, Panini officially announced that they have entered into an exclusive agreement with the NFL Players Association. The multi-year deal is set to begin in 2016 and specific terms of the deal were not disclosed. Currently, Panini and Topps both have an NFL license.

Under the current agreement, Topps and Panini are each permitted 17 releases per year, but the new agreement will allow Panini more options for their NFL product lineup. In 2009, Topps briefly lost their license, but regained it shortly thereafter. 2010 was the last major change for the NFL license as Upper Deck lost their license and Panini essentially took their place.

Keith Gordon, the president of NFL Players Inc., which is the marketing side of the NFLPA, explained the process for the decision. "In the last four years, we have had discussions about extensions and kicked around the idea for an exclusive deal. We became more receptive to the idea based on the conditions of the market. We also looked at other leagues and associations. This wasn’t a quick decision. We have to plan in advance to not disrupt the current deals, make sure the exclusive partner can take over the reigns, and make sure the other partner can land the plane so to speak."

At a meet and greet with collectors at the National, Topps did say that they were committed to continue making football cards after their deal with the NFLPA runs out and Panini's exclusive kicks in. What that might look like, it's still uncertain.

This news puts to rest the final major domestic sport not under an exclusive for sports cards, as the NBA (Panini), MLB (Topps), NHL (Upper Deck), College (Upper Deck) and MLS (Topps) licenses are all currently held by one company. Panini also holds the sole license for the FIFA World Cup. Panini will soon replace Upper Deck as the exclusive company for college cards as well, reaching deals that include all schools except for Notre Dame, which will remain with Upper Deck.

Tell us your thoughts on this news in the comments.

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Trey Treutel

E-Mail Author | 
Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. In more recent years he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

User Comments

  1. I really dislike exclusive deals. With no competition there will usually be stagnant products. Just look at the MLB side, I like the Donruss(panini) better than any topps product despite there being no team names or logos.

  2. You forgot to mention that Leaf has exclusive rights to “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” cards… so they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.

  3. So I’m surprised at the press release that Panini thinks an exclusive deal for NFL will be better for the market, when they are trying to compete in MLB by producing a superior product to Topps (ie. free market working). This defies all logic and basic economics, but good try.

  4. This brings up the question – “Which one of the three companies will be the first to go out of business?”

  5. This is terrible! WHAT numb skull thought of this, some NFL guys looking to line their pockets? With out competition the fans will get a poorer product. A take it or leave it atmosphere in the card world has developed since exclusive deals have taken over. At least two companies should be in every major sport, just to keep fresh ideas in the works.

  6. And yet as of 2012 NFLPA was talking about extending an agreement with Topps. Wonder what happend with that. http://www.forbes.com/sites/sportsmoney/2012/03/27/nflpa-set-to-ink-long-term-trading-card-deal-with-topps/

  7. This is how all 4 leagues will negotiate with the manufacturers when it comes time to renew the respective licenses. “You have an exclusive license with us and it’s the only major sports license you have – How much are you willing to pay to keep it?” In the end the manufacturers pay up which really means the collectors will have to pay up! End of negotiations.

  8. What about the long history of Topps Football Cards! As a football card collector I think the NFLPA is making a major mistake. Let the Collectors decide where we want to spend our money!

  9. Any word if Topps will continue to make their base and chrome product lines? Or will this be the end? I have been collecting Topps since the mid 80’s. This is a terrible development!

  10. Greed is the American way in business these days and sadly, it worked it’s way into the trading card “hobby” years ago. Exclusivity is never a good thing in business because that eventually breeds complacency. The manufacturers know cards are an addictive, gambling type “hobby” for many so they all bank on the fact that you’ll keep ripping whatever they put out since they’re the only game in town with a license. I like Panini products but not all. Same with Topps and Upper Deck. Remember when SPA and Exquiste Football dominated the football card market. It’s pretty apparent the effect UD losing their NFL license had on their football releases. A large faction of collectors just aren’t interested in NCAA releases no matter how nicely the products are designed.
    It’s a shame that a hobby icon such as Topps Football is no more after 2015. Boy have things changed since I was a kid ripping Topps wax packs in the mid ’70s.

  11. I don’t think that people should be freaking out. Yes competition amongst company’s is good but Panini has done quite well over the last few years as the sole producer of NBA licensed cards. As for the question asked earlier about company’s going out of business first if there is one I would hope upper deck would so that Panini could get Michael Jordan into NBA licensed cards, as well as making old Fleer inserts like PMG’s, Cut Above, Jambalaya in NFL & NBA uniforms.

  12. All this is going to do is turn into a bidding war the next time these contracts come up again. This is basically the 4 major sports saying “pay up” to collectors. And make no mistake about it, this is greed at its finest. Does the NFL care about tradition? Heck no! Look what has happened to the NFL the past 10 yrs. It’s all about money and that couldn’t be any sadder. And I’d be willing to bet they don’t even know that technically Panini isn’t even an American Company. All Panini (Italia) has done with the NBA contract is spit out products that cost ridiculous amounts of money. Now you will see that with the NFL. Do you think Panini really cares about tradition? No. They are in it to make as much money as possible despite what they may say. All our sports leagues are just as greedy as anybody to. So this should come as no surprise I guess. But eventually something’s got to give. We’ll see how many collectors stay on for the ride in the years to come..

  13. Good or bad, this is the current dichotomy the world is heading into as far as the whole economical scenario is concerned. Competition will actually rise as companies (Panini, Topps) try their best to out do each other.

    Until I actually see the products, I have to reserve my critique. I can say that Mr. Mike Smeth whom had voiced his opinion in this subject (Economical) and not product wise was most displeased with this occurring.

    I have not been in the hobby of collecting football cards for very long but I am saddened at the thought of the inability to purchase my two favorite Topps go to product, Chrome and Platinum.

  14. Looks like 2015 is the last year I collect football cards. Panini cards stink

  15. I agree that this is no good for the collectors or the companies. I am an avid fan of Football as well as Topps Chrome. I can say without any doubt, that I will be buying 2016 Topps Chrome Baseball in place of ANY Panini football product! Panini eat your heart out….

  16. I can’t beleive this! Everything Panini makes is of low quality and plain stupid. The amount of seriously lame patch cards is insane and the quality of card is just awful!!!!! Plus Panini and their rediculas sets that are just so repitive and stupid makes me sick. I thought everyone hated Panini lol Topps is king and Upper Deck — even with the issues they always have is queen. Panini is just outright garbage, such terrible products and everything about them is terrible.

    If Topps can’t make something happen or their hands are now tied, I’m not buying anything football until garbage Panini is gone and Topps is back. Panini is just GARBAGE this is insane! Trash garbage!

    I officially quit collecting until Topps is back or buys the garbage Panini company. Upper Deck and Topps need to join forces to get rid of this panini garbage trash people. I thought no one bought that trash?

    A sad day to learn about this. My favorite hobby is gone thanks to trash panini. BOYCOTT PANINI!!!

  17. I’m sorry, but Panini completely blows! Why would the NFLPA cut an exclusive deal with the WORST football card maker there is? Simple. …..GREED. Topps has been king of football cards forever, while Panini has always had low quality, poorly designed cards with higher prices and lower resale value. This deal is BS and driven by nothing but greed. Thank you NFLPA for ruining a great hobby for millions of people. I agree w dude in the comments above. …..BOYCOTT PANINI!!!!!!

  18. WOW !!! This is deva-stating to the Hobby… The Hobby has shifted and is clearly a dying breed…. I have been in this Hobby 40+ years…. The last of the last is collected and cherished is Vintage Topps Baseball, FOOTBALL , etc…. Where is the value in the Hobby… most definitely not in this garbage PANINI era… mass produced cards making you think oh boy #d to 25… except that there are three different poses, 5 different colors, and -and -and etc… we all know this is nothing more than a modern day gimmick !!! The hobby will suffer a major blow because of this !!! PSA / BGS this will kill you in the future… what a slap in the face to millions of Iconic Pop Culture collectors and there collections !!! This clearly puts my collection and probably several other millions into retirement !!! I would say that maybe 1% of the Panini product produced has any secondary market value… As a matter fact since they started making football cards we probably have about 5 Contenders rookies that have touched the hobby… other than that 99.9% of all the retail dollars anyone spends on Panini is like burning your money !!! I hope The NFLPA realizes that when everyone who is 40 yrs old+ in this hobby hangs it up… the kids taking our place are very scarce these days, YOU have just made it 1000% worse on a dying industry !!! By the way take a stroll thru the National Sports Convention the past 5-8 years… besides the big companies and the few idiots selling wax 10% over cost, who is left….not to mention the attendance is awful and there are hardly any KIDS with there dads…. truth hurts this hobby is DOOMED !!! BYE BYE !!!

  19. panini sucks and i won’t touch there product or any nfl card in 2016 that has there name on it

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