Begining in 2016, Panini will be the only sports trading card manufacturer that can produce NFL trading cards. According to Darren Rovell, ESPN sports business reporter, the NFL Players Association and Panini have agreed to a multi-year deal that will make Panini the exclusive maker of football cards. This means that Topps will no longer be in the football card business.
No more Topps Football.
No more Bowman Football.
No more Topps Chrome.
With this deal, every major sport in North America now has an exclusive deal with a different trading card company. Topps has MLB baseball, Panini will have NFL football and NBA basketball, and Upper Deck will have NHL hockey.
Speaking as someone who really likes Topps, this is bad news. Topps is an American icon, albeit, one that is not in the best financial health. Panini, a company based out of Modena, Italy, produces cards I usually don’t care for. Panini cards generally look cheap and obnoxious.
It looks like that trend with only continue with the exclusive deal. This is what Panini America CEO Mark Warsop had to say:
I want to get kids back to collecting sets again, and if that means that we could have a product whose packs sell for 50 cents, and make no money on it, to grow the category, we can now do that.
Great. One of the things this exclusive deal will allow Panini to do is flood the market with cheap cards that nobody wants. Kids don’t want cheap cards. They want the same well made, quality cards that everyone else wants.
I already don’t bother with NBA cards anymore, not because I don’t like basketball, but because I don’t like Panini. It looks like beginning in 2016, I will no longer bother with NFL cards either.