Report: Fanatics Lands NBA, NBAPA Basketball Card Licenses
It’s going to be more than baseball for Fanatics’ new trading card company. Basketball appears to be on the horizon as well.
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Fanatics has agreed to deals with both the NBA and the NBAPA, taking over from Panini in 2026.
Licensed sports giant Fanatics has reached a deal with the NBA and NBPA to replace Panini in 2026 for exclusive license to produce basketball cards – giving equity to players and league in the new trading cards venture.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 23, 2021
It had been reported last week that Fanatics had something in place with the Players Association. To that end, the addition of the NBA isn’t a surprising development but it’s nonetheless important.
Last week, Sportico noted that Fanatics and the NFLPA also had an agreement.
Panini has held the NBA exclusive since 2009-10, taking over from both Topps and Upper Deck. Although the Panini name was known around the world at that point, it was largely due to stickers. After landing the basketball exclusive, Panini acquired Donruss/Playoff and established Panini America.
In the years that followed, Panini has added several other licenses including the MLBPA, NASCAR, the vast majority of the NCAA, Premier League Soccer and, most recently, UFC. Panini has had the NFL exclusive since 2016.
Although details on the agreement aren’t known, Charania notes that both the players and the NBA have a stake in the new Fanatics trading card venture. This is similar to what has been reported for baseball.