Panini Hands Out First Cards at NFL Draft

The sports card industry had a presence at this year’s NFL Draft.

Panini America made its first appearance when the NFL Draft kicked off Saturday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Panini, which recently acquired Donruss, is the "official trading card of the NFL Draft". Panini photographed the event for use on its trading cards and obtained officially licensed NFL Draft memorabilia worn by the players.

The company made last-minute adjustments and placed team names on the front of special football cards that were handed out in limited quantities.

"Rookie cards are key to the success of our trading card programs," said Panini America Vice President of Sales & Marketing Mike Anderson. "The relationship allows us to be the first trading card company to have access to the top picks. The growing popularity of NFL Draft day is incredible exposure for trading cards and our company."

The agreement will also give Panini rights to obtain the tam jerseys and hats the players wear after Goodell calls their name. According to Panini, those draft day items will be incorporated into future card products.

"We felt the memorabilia from this events would be a great way to enhance our programs throughout 2009," adds Anderson. "These jerseys and hats are special, they are the first time the rookies get to wear their new colors – so its going to create some some very unique collectibles."