The NBA is sticking with Panini.
The league and the trading card maker announced what they called a “long-term, multiyear extension” of the exclusive trading card contract first signed in 2009.
The deal means Panini won’t be facing any competition from other trading card makers for at least the next several years.
It’s the second renewal of the agreement between the NBA and Panini. In 2012, the two extended the original pact. If the new deal is for five additional years, collectors may be looking at 2022 before competition would again be considered.
“Panini America has grown the traditional trading card market both domestically and internationally, continuing to deliver industry-leading innovation, product development and marketing initiatives,” said Sal LaRocca, the NBA’s President of Global Partnerships.
Upper Deck still holds an exclusive with Michael Jordan and LeBron James, meaning no cards of either player can appear in Panini sets. The company also signed 2016 top draft pick Ben Simmons last year.
Upper Deck and Topps both produced NBA licensed cards in 2008-09 but the league opted for the Panini exclusive when those contracts came up for renewal. LaRocca admitted in 2012 that Panini’s global footprint plays a large role in the NBA’s marketing efforts.
“Our companies share a collective interest in promoting our brands worldwide,” he said at the time. “Panini has continually demonstrated the ability and commitment to creating products that appeal to our fans on a global basis.”
“We’re honored that the NBA has entrusted us to be its exclusive trading card manufacturer for the last seven years, and this extension is a pivotal part of our exciting future,” said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. “The NBA is a vital, vibrant part of our company and we look forward to a long, prosperous future.”
Panini also holds exclusive card licenses for NFL, NASCAR, FIFA World Cup and more than 300 colleges.