Panini America has been named one of the NFLPA’s Licensee of the Year award winners.
The announcement came during the recent Licensing Expo 2016.
Panini America won for Hardlines Licensee of the Year, EA SPORTS won for Digital Licensee of the Year and 500 Level for Apparel Licensee of the year. The NFLPA, via its licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc., launched the awards in 2015 to honor the NFLPA licensees that have demonstrated what it says are “the most successful and creative use of group player rights within the past year.”
Panini has taken over as the lone pro football trading card manufacturer.
“We’re extremely honored to be recognized by the NFL Players Association in such a meaningful way,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “We’re proud to be the NFLPA’s exclusive trading card manufacturer and this award really is a testament to the hard work and commitment shown by everyone in our company. It’s nice to see the employees of Panini America receive some well-deserved recognition.”
A panel comprised of NFLPA executives judged entrants on five criteria: number of unique players featured within the licensees’ product lines; the marketing and promotional activations that featured players throughout the year; creativity and innovation in product development; the companies’ positive development of the players’ intellectual property; and, the range of distribution and growth in annual financial performance.
“We think it is important to give recognition to these licensees, who have done an outstanding job connecting with our players in the creation and marketing of their NFLPA licensed products,” said Steve Scebelo, NFLPA Vice President of Licensing and Business Development. “EA SPORTS, Panini America and 500 Level have all given extra effort to get to know and work directly with a significant number of players, and the dividends show in each of their respective product lines.”
Highlights of the partnership listed by the NFLPA included expansion of Panini America’s business through college-specific card sets featuring active NFL players, the launch of the Panini Gridiron app and the release of the inaugural Trading Card Index to rank top rookies and veterans based on overall trading volume and collectability.
“Panini America has been a terrific partner for many years, and continues to bring unprecedented innovation to the marketplace through unique product promotions across multiple platforms,” said NFLPA Assistant Vice President, Licensing, Karen Austin.