Forty rookies from the 2018 NFL Draft are gathering in Los Angeles Wednesday through Sunday for the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Part of the four-day gathering is to help teach the business of football and jumpstart the players’ off-the-field careers. For collectors, it’s where some of the first football cards showing rookies in their NFL uniforms are created and where Panini America collects the thousands of autographs it’ll use in upcoming football card products.
On average, players will sign over 3,300 cards each before the weekend is over.
“The NFLPA Rookie Premiere is our Super Bowl. The event is so important to us because it gives us the ability to sit down with the top 40 NFL Rookies we believe will be the most collectable and will drive the trading card category for the upcoming season. It allows us to capture the players in their official Nike jerseys before they step on a field, allowing us to produce trading cards for the entire season, capture marketing content and drive sales initiatives,” said Jason Howarth, Vice President of Marketing, Panini America.
Offense sells best and as usual, most of the players who will be signing and having their pictures taken are quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Of the 40 players expected to participate, only one plays defense.
Among the rookies expected to participate are (based on draft order): Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, Cleveland Browns), Saquon Barkley (Penn State, New York Giants), Sam Darnold (Southern Cal, New York Jets), Bradley Chubb (N.C. State, Denver Broncos), Josh Allen (Wyoming, Buffalo Bills), Josh Rosen (UCLA, Arizona Cardinals), D.J. Moore (Maryland, Carolina Panthers), Hayden Hurst (South Carolina, Baltimore Ravens), Calvin Ridley (Alabama, Atlanta Falcons), Rashaad Penny (San Diego State, Seattle Seahawks), Sony Michel (Georgia, New England Patriots), Ronald Jones II (Southern Cal, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Mike Gesicki (Penn State, Miami Dolphins). For a complete roster click here.
“NFLPA Rookie Premiere is the best opportunity for our partners to engage early on with the next wave of marketable young stars entering the league,” said Ahmad Nassar, President, NFL Players Inc. “Beyond providing a platform to learn about the business of football and benefits of their union as they plan for their new careers, Rookie Premiere allows players to showcase their personalities so that we can use that insight to connect the right players with the right brands to advance their stories and campaigns.”
Fanatics Authentic is also among the companies that will be in Los Angeles, collecting autographs to sell on its website and gathering event-used items for an online auction.