Panini America confirms Collegiate Licensing Company exclusive with nearly 200 schools



By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Panini America has deals with nearly 200 more major colleges and universities under the Collegiate Licensing Company in place for products beginning this spring the company officially announced Thursday, confirming previous reports that it had signed a large number of deals.

PaniniNCAAAmong the notable schools covered by the new deal are Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, TCU and Texas A&M.

“Since entering the U.S. market in 2009, Panini has quickly become a leader in the trading card category in understanding consumers and developing unique programs for its partners. Panini’s management team is committed to growing the college category and using their resources and distribution capabilities to benefit our partner institutions,” said Dave Kirkpatrick, Vice President of Non-Apparel Brand Management for CLC, in a prepared statement.

This deal ups Panini’s presence in the college landscape immensely with Upper Deck only holding claim to Notre Dame after signing an exclusive in NovemberUpper Deck had held an exclusive CLC license for the past five years.

In all, nearly 500 schools — not just those covered by the CLC — have signed multi-year deals with Panini and the college memorabilia market is a significant business. According to the CLC, more than $4.59 billion in overall licensed college goods were sold last year, while Upper Deck ranked 19th on the CLC’s Top 25 non-apparel licensees list as the sole card-maker.

Panini’s push for the collegiate business — at least publicly — began Oct. 23 when Panini announced deals with Kentucky, Georgia and Miami. Additional announcements included more than 220 schools through a deal with the Licensing Resource Group that was previously announced, as well as additional deals with Mississippi State, Baylor, NC State and Kansas State. A critical step for Panini in recent months, according to multiple sources, was its signing announcement with the University of Texas Longhorns, the top-selling CLC school.

“We are excited to add CLC’s partner institutions to our collegiate trading card program,” said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America, in a prepared release. “Our strong product portfolio within our professional sports programs gives us the unique opportunity to showcase professional athletes in their collegiate uniforms and will bring a wider array of product offerings on behalf of the schools and will not only benefit fans of those individual schools but college sports fans overall. We look forward to building compelling collegiate trading card products beginning in the spring of 2015.”

We’ll have more on this one later today.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.



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  1. Leo 8 January, 2015 at 15:40

    Press Pass went under, Upper Deck might be next. CLC is pretty much the cornerstone of their products outside of the NHL.

  2. Jeff 8 January, 2015 at 17:50

    I would love to see an expanded roster of college stars in mid range products. But products like flawless are just silly, nobody should pay these for a HOBBY. Don’t trip over greed Panini.

  3. James 8 January, 2015 at 19:40

    Cool. Hopefully this means an end to those goofy-looking airbrushed rookie cards with them in their

  4. Paul 9 January, 2015 at 00:21

    One more step in the hobby invasion. Can’t wait to see a Panini owned hobby world with all the licenses from all the sport.
    Be careful Beckett, you might one of the next targets of the Italian plague. Like this, Panini would secure that they “Offer more value from the same money”.


  5. Bart 9 January, 2015 at 08:32

    So Panini will have the NFL and CLC licensing exclusive contracts? Awesome. This should save me about $500 a month as I will buy a fraction of what I buy now. Panini is horrible about offering hard signed autos, and thats pretty much all I am interested in, not to mention their card designs are no where near as nice as Upper Deck, which has always offered the best looking cards of any manufacturer.
    This hobby is ruining itself, one exclusive license at a time.

  6. chrisolds 9 January, 2015 at 08:47

    Here’s a thought: What if Panini’s college cards are the best creations we’ve ever seen out of a CLC license because the company has the resources to make that happen with a top array of autographs and memorabilia card options?

    Second thought: Do people still not realize that Panini America is based in Texas?

  7. Charlie 9 January, 2015 at 09:12

    Chris – you’re oversimplifying by saying PA is based out of Texas. Anheuser Busch is still based in St. Louis. That doesn’t mean they are American-owned. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of a Belgian company and ultimately answer to a Belgian company. Just like Panini America is a wholly owned subsidiary of an Italian company and ultimately answers to an Italian company.

    All of that said – I have no idea why it matters. I personally don’t care that a card maker and licensing company is based out of the US. I don’t know why anyone would. If you like or dislike their product, it shouldn’t matter where their ultimate owner is located.

  8. Bobby 9 January, 2015 at 15:43

    Chris says “What if Panini’s college cards are the best creations we’ve ever seen out of a CLC license because the company has the resources to make that happen with a top array of autographs and memorabilia card options?”

    My response is does that overcome the horrible customer service & total disrespect for us?

  9. Paul Angilly 9 January, 2015 at 16:29

    Interesting … so now Panini will be cranking out baseball sets with no MLB logos but all the college logos …

  10. stevie-poo 10 January, 2015 at 23:33

    Chris…….are you ‘suggesting’ that everybody should just go away & stop commenting (or ‘harping’) ? That way there wouldn’t need to be a Beckett ????

  11. Bart 11 January, 2015 at 10:13

    “What if Panini’s college cards are the best creations we’ve ever seen out of a CLC license because the company has the resources to make that happen with a top array of autographs and memorabilia card options?”
    They certainly have NOT produced the best looking NFL cards (lack of on card autos, and just a lackluster, dull design overall for the most part) No, they haven’t hit their exclusive license date yet, but are you expect them to all of a sudden start producing higher quality “creations” when the magic date hits, even though they actually have LESS motivation to do so since they will be the only game in town?
    Sure, its possible…but I’m not holding my breath.

  12. Paul 12 January, 2015 at 02:19

    Chris: I don’t know since how long Panini is present in the states, but everybody knows Panini in Europe since at least 30 years for its cheap stickers album.

    When the craze for the basketball trading cards came to europe in the 90’s, stores started to open selling imported licensed packs from UD, Topps, skybox… We slowly got into the hobby and the audience got more mature, seeking quality products. It wasn’t just getting the set but seeking the hot parallels, RC and inserts.

    During this time, Panini, which has tons of sport license from Europe, could have entered the market with quality trading cards from the local sports (Soccer, euro basketball, rugby,etc..), rooting some solid basis for a trading card collecting in Europe.

    What did they do…..nothing. They kept their cheap stickers album and when the basketball wave got down the hobby litterally died in Europe.

    We could have now some solid products for all the major sports with a fan base making the business realistic, educated with the 90’s imported cards and moved the local sports. Now Europe is a hobby desert.

    Just consider that Prizm Soccer had not been released officially in Europe, where the soul of soccer is. And Now you’ll tell me that Panini cares….

    So when I read the “customer care” messages from Panini I’m litterally laughing. So Chris, you might consider all the Panini development as a good sign but just get in mind that it comes from a Company that didn’t want to promote your hobby worldwide. They don’t love the hobby because if it was the case, they would have pushed it further when they had the opportunity. It scares me but that’s my 2 cents.

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