Your store shelves and eBay listings are about to get a little more crowded again.
Panini America and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have announced a multi-year trading card agreement.
The deal makes Panini the only trading card company in the world with licenses in all four of the U.S. major sports. The company has not been granted an MLB license as of yet, however, meaning it will not be able to utilize team logos or other trademarks until that happens.
Panini will make its MLBPA-partnership debut with the December release of 2011 Elite Extra Edition, followed by 2011 Contenders Baseball, which will include the first Panini autographs of All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player also will appear on packaging for future Panini products.
“We’re very pleased to be working with Panini. They have consistently developed innovative products that appeal to collectors of all ages both here in America and around the world,” said Evan Kaplan, Director, Licensing & Business Development for the Major League Baseball Players Association. “Panini’s MLBPA-licensed products will present Major League baseball players in a unique and exciting way.”
“The relationship with the MLBPA represents the culmination of a goal that we committed to when Panini entered the U.S. market just over two years ago, that of having a licensed presence in all four of the major sports in the U.S., and to utilize Panini’s creative approach to enhance the overall experience for collectors,” said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. “We are excited to join as a partner of the MLBPA and look forward to working with the MLBPA to continue to raise the visibility of their players and engage new collectors.”