Panini will release its first collegiate-licensed trading card product with the arrival of 2015 Panini Contenders Draft Picks football. Originally set to release in April, boxes are now expected May 20. The company gobbled up licenses from more than 400o schools in anticipation of entering the collegiate trading card market and will also use school trademarks in some of its other issues going forward.
Each hobby box of Contenders Draft Picks will have 24 packs with eight cards per pack and Panini promises at least five autographs and 48 inserts or parallels. The product will feature the top players selected in the NFL Draft and NFL veterans in their college uniforms.
It appears most, if not all cards, will have sticker autographs.
In conjunction with its collegiate licenses, Panini also utilizes its group player rights for rookies and active players through license agreement with NFL Players, Inc. to feature current NFL players in their collegiate uniforms, creating a wider range of product content beyond just players that are entering the NFL.
While Rookie Ticket Autographs are the featured attraction in Contenders NFL, the college product will use College Tickets, Bowl Tickets, Playoff Tickets, Cracked Ice Tickets, Championship Tickets and other familiar elements.
Some of this year’s draftees won’t make their mark for several months or more but Panini has included collegiate photos of some big name NFL players in both Alumni Ink & Old School Colors including Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Tony Romo and others.
Collegiate Connections signatures will feature former teammates like Aaron Rodgers/Marshawn Lynch, Andrew Luck/Richard Sherman and Zach Mettenberger/Odell Beckham Jr. on dual signed cards while Class Reunion is a similar subset.
Although 24-pack hobby boxes of 2015 Contenders Draft Picks Football are supposed to be delivering five autographs, most boxes will have at least six autographs and some are delivering seven, according to company officials. The product also is available at mass retail in 42-card blaster boxes ($19.99 SRP) that include two autographs.
Boxes are being sold online now, generally for between $130-175. Click here to see them.