It’s been a topsy-turvy time for trading card licenses over the last couple of months and now another one is changing hands.
Panini Group announced Tuesday morning that it had struck a multi-year, exclusive agreement with WWE for trading cards and stickers beginning in 2022. The move puts an end to Topps’ lengthy run as the WWE card maker. Originally signed in 2005, Topps and WWE had announced an extension of their agreement in November 2018, believed to be a three-year contract that expires at the end of this year.
Both companies are seeing their major sports trading card licenses move to Fanatics in the coming years after the merchandise giant secured deals with leagues and players that will bring MLB, NBA and NFL trading card production to one company in the coming years.
“The landmark agreement will begin in the first quarter of 2022 and will include multiple trading card products during the first year,” Panini stated in a news release. Panini’s U.S. subsidiary, Panini America, will be responsible for developing the WWE trading card products.
The first product release – 2022 WWE Prizm – will coincide with the buildup surrounding WrestleMania, WWE’s biggest annual event, which is scheduled for April 2 and 3 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Panini promised that its WWE products will be available at mass retailers including Walmart and Target, as well as hobby stores nationwide and online.
“We have always been intrigued by WWE as a license partner and their fans’ incredible passion,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “Our entire team is looking forward to adding WWE, a truly iconic license, to our roster of exclusive partners. We have big plans for our WWE portfolio and the new heights we can help WWE trading cards and stickers reach in the collectibles arena.”
“Panini has a 60-year history in sports and entertainment collectibles and is a leader in the trading card space throughout the U.S. as well as in Latin America, Europe and Asia,” said Scott Zanghellini, WWE Senior Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Development. “We believe that this partnership perfectly aligns our mutual interests in providing fans with exclusive collectibles and, ultimately, growing this category globally.”