Panini America has landed a new, multi-year licensing agreement with UFC and will release its first set of trading cards in April. The move ends UFC’s relationship with Topps, which had held the contract since 2009.
Panini plans to use its popular Prizm brand to kick off the new deal, with a product set to release in April. Panini will also produce 2021 UFC releases for its Select (July), Chronicles (September) and Immaculate (December) bramds/
“We are thrilled to welcome Panini America as UFC’s new official collectible trading card partner,” said UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski in a statement. “Many of our fans use collectible trading cards to stay connected to our brand and to their favorite UFC athletes, and Panini America is the industry leader, creating innovative and unique products for our fans to enjoy.”
Panini also has exclusive deals with the NFL, NBA and NASCAR. The company also holds a collegiate licensing contract.
“This truly is a dream matchup that brings together the unquestioned leaders of trading cards and combat sports for a partnership that will excite and captivate UFC fans and collectors across the globe for years,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “We’ve watched with great interest over the years as UFC has grown into a major force on the mainstream sports landscape with some of the most marketable athletes in the world.
“We’re passionate UFC fans here at Panini America, and we’re excited about what we can do with the UFC brand and the athletes on our trading cards. We’re looking forward to this relationship.”
As part of the partnership, Panini will capitalize on UFC’s biggest moments in real-time with the company’s direct-to-consumer Panini Instant platform. As it does in other sports where it holds licenses, Panini will produce cards of major fights, moments and milestones just hours after they happen and offer them in its on-demand platform.