Published September 15, 2011
Panini America is adding baseball products to its line of NBA, NFL, NHL, trading cards and stickers through a license with the MLBPA being announced today. Rangers LF Josh Hamilton will serve as spokesperson for the new line, appearing on packaging and providing autographs for Panini. Company CEO Mark Warsop said the new line will have seven releases in its first year and make its initial retail in November. "It has always been a target of ours to have a full portfolio of all four sports in America and actually it happened faster than we anticipated," he said. Topps is the exclusive trading-card licensee of MLB, and also has MLBPA rights. With only PA rights, Panini's baseball sets will only be able to depict players out of uniform or feature uniformed players without MLB logos, which are known as "pajama cards." Panini began moving into the U.S. market when it obtained an exclusive license for NBA trading cards and stickers in early '09. Subsequently, Panini acquired trading-card manufacturer Donruss Playoff, and its NFL/NFLPA licenses. Panini followed that acquisition with licenses from the NHL and NHLPA and an IOC license for stickers in '10.