By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor
LAS VEGAS – With Panini’s Tuesday announcement revolving around its new rewards program, some of the other tidbits from its 2014 Industry Summit corporate address could have been missed.
Panini started by admitting 2013 was a mixed year for the company, plenty of which had to do with football. Football is a rookie-driven sport and the tail of the 2012 season (which comes out in 2013) did well while a weaker 2013 rookie class didn’t drive sales.
However, Panini expects that to turn around with a 2014 football class that features Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney and others.
Basketball: By having an exclusive with basketball, it allows Panini to create specific types of memorabilia cards such as the Christmas Day game-used shorts cards that will appear in Immaculate and National Treasures Basketball. These cards feature unique patches that Panini will utilize in those brands.
Panini is also bringing back game-used sneakers, which works well in this category because of the colorful sneakers basketball players now wear, Panini’s Jim Stefano told the Summit crowd.
In addition, Panini will insert Draft Rookie Exchange cards in Intrigue and Panini Signatures numbered 1-25. The card number pulled will correspond to the player selected in that slot in this year’s draft, which is expected to be a strong class.
Baseball: There will be more colors in Prizm and a lower price point, but still with two autographs in every box.
Panini announced the return of National Treasures Baseball with the addition of Immaculate Collection to the sport.
Football: Panini announced two new products to the football lineup with Immaculate Collection and Flawless. However, Flawless will not be at the same price point as the basketball product.
Hockey: Panini reassured the crowd that it would honor all hockey redemptions even though its license ends after the current season. It said National Treasures will still come out and Flawless Hockey cards will be inserted into NT.
Marketing: Panini will bring the Super Bowl Kid Reporter contest to hobby products. Last year, it was in retail products only.
Panini Roundtable: The first Panini Roundtable store-only product will be Prizm Jumbo Hobby Basketball.