NBA renews Panini America’s card license

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

Panini America will star on the hardwood a few more years.

The NBA announced on Monday morning that it signed a new multi-year licensing agreement with the Texas-based branch of the world’s largest collectibles company, once again making Panini the exclusive card and sticker manufacturer of the league.

Panini’s presence in the United States began in 2009 with its purchase of Donruss/Playoff and its acquisition of an NBA license. Now, it also has licenses with the NFL, NHL and MLB Players Association. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed that the deal is for five years and runs through 2017.

The news came via a conference call with Sal LaRocca, the Executive Vice President Global Merchandising Group, along with Mark Warsop, the CEO of Panini America, and Kobe Bryant, the five-time NBA champion and Panini spokesman.

“Our companies share a collective interest in promoting our brands worldwide,” LaRocca said in a prepared release. “Panini has continually demonstrated the ability and commitment to creating products that appeal to our fans on a global basis.”

One focus for the company will be expansion of its distribution overseas with a particular focus on China, according to the company.

“The popularity of the NBA game globally is unmatched and, with new NBA superstars emerging, it’s an exciting time to collect NBA trading cards, which are not only fun but highly sought after in the secondary trading card market,” Warsop said. “In the last three years, there has not been a more valuable modern-day trading card than our National Treasures NBA product that included a 1-of-1 Blake Griffin NBA Logoman Rookie card that sold on the secondary market for $38,000. This new long-term agreement with the NBA serves as the foundation to our future growth and our long-term commitment to the trading card category.”

Panini’s spokesmen include Bryant, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


  1. card opinionator
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    A lack of competition is never good in any industry.

  2. Matt Gilman
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Great news for my empl…. I mean Panini. Great job everyone!

  3. Card Shark
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Terrible decision. Basketball cards continue to be an afterthought. More buzz with release of latest Exquisite than any of Panini’s products combined. Besides National Treasures, no product from Panini to be excited about. Competition is good!!!

  4. Kingbudd
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The one good thing about this is my Upper Deck cards (pre 2010) will continue to command top dollar. Panini can keep on ruining the hobby, I don’t care anymore.

  5. Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    another multi year MONOPOLY …. way to go NBA…. no competition with NBA Sports Cards..

    I would like to see competition like we had before…. Panini having a Monopoly only drives prices of packs & boxes up…. average collectors can’t accord all their different products… especially, when a pack of 5-7 cards cost $100…

    Then Panini, Venders, & Dealers manipulate the market to raise prices of packs/boxes even more….. rationing out boxes to be sold, creates demand, which increase profit… if not doubles it!!

    I’m about done with buying boxes of cards… cheaper to buy singles on the secondary market!!

    Thanks NBA!! I lost the love of collecting basketball cards!!

  6. Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    WOW. This is bad news for collectors. I don’t have a problem with Panini, but there is no competition to make them produce better products. A lot of there products IMO look like something that Topps and UD have produced in the past. The other products that they have produced resemble all of those Donruss products from Football. There really isn’t anything that the’ve come out with that is a brand new concept.

    Competition makes companies perform better. There is a reason why so many of the collectors have been purchasing A LOT of the older Topps & UD cards. All of these companies have failed customers to some degree, but at least you had the opportunity to avoid there products.

    I guess I will continue buying older products and only picking up items that catch my eye with Panini. Hopefully they will produce something in the future that I can completely appreciate.

  7. Posted October 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I am glad to see they renewed their license, but I’m not glad to see that it is exclusive.

  8. ddizzal
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink


  9. Anthony
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Vote with your wallets. If Panini is producing lousy lazy products, then why are people buying them? If they start to lose money, then they’ll want to get out of the business of producing basketball cards.

  10. Ed
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t good.
    I’ve collected basketball cards for over 20 years and Panini does nothing for me.
    Bland cards, high priced over produced mediocrity…..sounds like a monopoly to me.

  11. James
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    LOL i like how reviews all comments before they’re posted.

    October 30, 2012 3:36 am
    Please Note: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Congrats? But this news is a real BUMMER.. especially multi year. Really want to see other products. To have exclusive rights to most of the major sports is just wrong.. especially when its the OTHER companies that really make up the history of sports cards. NBA did us wrong.

  12. chrisolds
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I’d make better Pepsi than Pepsi if Pepsi would let me make Pepsi. But they won’t.

    It’s an entity allowing companies — in this case one — to make cards using its brand.

    The NBA made its choice — and it chose one company. The NBA could have had its reasons.

    Others can make basketball cards — just not using its property.

  13. Anthony
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s more like Muffins. The NBA lets one company, in this case Panini, make muffins. Too bad they don’t make the best tasting muffins. They might be bigger and full of fancy ingredients, but it doesn’t mean they have the tastiest or prettiest muffins.

    Anybody can make muffins, but the NBA isn’t backing the best bakers/makers out there.

  14. chrisolds
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Anthony: Ok, the NBA likes its muffins a certain way and will only allow its ingredients to be used in that type.

  15. Randymcw
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I never cared much for Upper Deck. They started their own demise by signing exclusives
    with MJ, Kobe and others. Of course Topps and Fleer signed exclusives. Weakened all 3 companies.
    The best collecting years were 98,99,00 and 01 in NBA and NFL.
    Afterwards inserts, for the most part, were replaced with parallels numbered from 1/1, 5/5,10/10,& so on and so forth. There were just too many of these parallels.
    Topps Gold Label Red series are one of my favorite to collect.
    90-00 Finest are still the best looking cards ever produced. Topps put on such a thick coating of (lacquer )? that the base cards have a awesome contrast. I bet many collectors missed this because of the peel off protector never being removed. The refractors were even more impressive.
    The inserts were interesting and had awesome refractor parallels.
    Gosh I sure miss Topps having a Nba trading card license!!
    I have not nor intend in the future purchased a panini product.
    Topps NFL or older Topps NBA product get our $$$’s in the trading market!
    Bring Back TOPPS!

  16. Joe-Be Bryant
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    G’day mates! Writing from all the way across the globe in Sydney, Australia.. I must admit that I am disappointed in the NBA’s decision to only license one card producer.
    I was looking online at some of the older UD & Fleer Ultra NBA cards from early 90-2000 and thought I might check out what’s on offer these days. After looking through the Panini range and reading these comments I’m saddened to see that the trading card days of old are long gone.
    It used to be nice to have a choice of 4-5 card companies to chose from especially once you have already collected one companies set.
    Now that I’m older and with disposable income it would be great to be able to buy boxes at a time but my interest is lost for now. It’s hard enough following such a great sport from a country so far away and with such little exposure and product range on offer, I sure hope things improve.
    Anyone willing to send me free tickets to any games would be appreciated haha

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