Five months ago, Panini America and WWE announced a new multi-year trading card deal, snaring the license from Topps. Before the first Panini-branded product hits the market comes news that the rights are on the move again.
Early Monday, Fanatics announced that it would be adding wrestling to its sweeping takeover of much of the sports card market. Fanatics, which bought Topps in early January, will eventually produce WWE cards under the Topps brand once Panini’s deal expires “over the next few years,” according to a press release.
The trading card element is just part of a larger, long-term deal struck by Fanatics with Vince McMahon’s entertainment that will include e-commerce and licensed merchandise, as well as digital and NFT collectibles.
“Fanatics is the industry leader and Michael Rubin is a visionary,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “We believe this multi-platform partnership will set a new standard for WWE e-commerce, apparel and merchandise, while providing our fans globally with more ways than ever to engage with WWE and our Superstars.”
“WWE is one of the most widely admired sports and entertainment properties worldwide, and it made perfect sense to activate many parts of our Fanatics global platform to create a first-of-its-kind, all-in fan experience,” said Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. “From e-commerce and licensed merchandise to trading cards and more, we’re going to offer up an incredible set of capabilities to help WWE’s passionate fans worldwide celebrate their favorite Superstars, marquee events and the WWE brand overall.”
Fanatics’ digital collectibles company, Candy Digital, will become one of WWE’s primary NFT partners later this year. Candy will curate and build a full range of trading card NFTs.