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Panini America Issues Statement Regarding NHL/NHLPA Licensing Situation

February 27, 2014

Panini America, the global leader in licensed sports and entertainment collectibles, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon in regard to the NHL/NHLPA license.

“We are disappointed to learn of the NHL and NHLPA’s decision to go in another direction in the trading card category,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “During the term of our agreement we faced many challenges, including a late start to the agreement and an NHL work stoppage. Through all of the challenges we established trading card hockey brands that collectors came to love and look forward to, including Dominion, Prime, Rookie Anthology, Limited and Totally Certified. Our marketing is unprecedented in the category, including activation and marketing support around the global NHL Premiere Games, the two All-Star Games that were played during our four-year agreement, Winter Classic, Heritage Classic, NHL Faceoff, NHL Draft, Stanley Cup and this year’s outdoor NHL Stadium Series. Our commitment and investment with NHL Teams and individual NHL Players to produce great Panini Hockey trading card products is unsurpassed in the trading card category and will continue to be until our license expires on June 30.”

“While we never like to lose a license that we were committed to, this decision gives us the opportunity to further enhance our other sports licensed products. We’ll continue to innovate and grow the trading card category for the NBA, NFL/NFLPA, MLBPA, 2014 FIFA World Cup and expand our strategic initiatives in these core sports on a global level.”

84 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2014 7:52 am

    This is awful for you guys, I am sorry to hear this. Your work for hockey cards has been 2nd to none and the ability to push the industry forward has been an asset. We are going to miss you guys in hockey cards. Thank you to the entire hockey team for there outstanding work and products throughout the years, this is a sad situation for hobby collectors.

  2. Richard Sandanam permalink
    February 28, 2014 8:01 am

    This is a disgrace, I loved having competition between two major companies. As we all know competition breeds innovation and ultimately a better product for the customer. Now, prices can be “fixed” and we will have to settle for lesser products…This is a dark day in the community.

    Thank you for giving us great hockey cards for the past 4 years or so. It really created some excited with the competition aspect in the community.

    Thank you Panini for being the world leader in officially licensed collectibles

  3. david freeman permalink
    February 28, 2014 8:51 am

    Thank God !!!! Hopefully Upper Deck will get there licences and make more products next year. Panini never had the value of the same price point products as Upper Deck. I would rather buy a product of the same value and see the value in beckett be much higher.

  4. Josh permalink
    February 28, 2014 8:58 am

    That sucks… I came back into collecting during the previous UD exclusive and it got really boring really quick with the exact same things year after year. No innovation. Only when Panini came in, did things start getting interesting. I hope after this exclusive period expires, they’ll open the license again. I’ll miss you guys!

  5. HobbyBox604 permalink
    February 28, 2014 9:34 am

    This suuuuuuuxxxxx :(
    Im a big fan all ur designs,its different,PRIME is the nicest product out there,ur customer service is #1 ….So so sad…
    U were obviously a huge threat to UD,thats why…..

  6. Michel permalink
    February 28, 2014 12:11 pm

    SAD day for collectors. Shame on the NHL and NHLPA.. Mediocrity has win again. Boy! Upper deck cards are mostly dull to look at, no originality. Sad sad sad

  7. February 28, 2014 12:56 pm

    Reblogged this on 99goals and commented:
    So sad. Gonna rip the older stuff anyways.. hope to see you guys back in a few years time..#collect

  8. Marky permalink
    February 28, 2014 2:56 pm

    Both companies still continue to struggle with the same issues. Redemptions, QC issues and boring designs. Giving it back to UD exclusively is going to seriously affect the market. Silly silly move! i cannot get my deceased Russian players redemption filled and its been 2 years, wtf?

  9. Eric B. permalink
    February 28, 2014 5:24 pm

    Oh well, it sucks BUT why not go out with a BANG boys………….Put together one huge , LOADED product for a late June release with whatever autos and memorabilia you have left and let those of us who enjoyed your NHL releases have one last hurrah !!!!

    • March 1, 2014 1:47 pm

      I had a similar thought. Didn’t the old Donruss company do something similar with baseball?

  10. P.J. Aucoin permalink
    February 28, 2014 7:56 pm

    This is such a greedy decision, monopoly = crap product at higher prices. It’s not like UD can get any crappier but I’m sure they will do their best!

    I’ve always been a huge Panini fan since I started collecting again but this is enough to make me hang it up again.

    UD is set to release MVP and OPC as their first release after the Panini license expires, what a joke! The two worst products produced! Panini actually cared about their customers unlike UD so I guess that’s why UD and the NHL make such a good couple, driven by greed and money. I myself will not be buying that UD junk, if Panini isn’t going to produce cards then I’ll be buying ITG! UD will ruin this industry again, just like they did in the 90’s. Wake me up in 2030 after the collapse!

  11. February 28, 2014 11:57 pm

    I Urge you to carry on with hockey products in some way. As a very popular hockey box breaker who basically did mostly Panini and ITG products anyway this will not effect me much except to boycott the failing UD products completely in the coming years. This was clearly the last ditch effort of a company that was well behind the curve that wants to eek out an existance. Long Live Panini! Down with lower schmeck.

  12. March 1, 2014 7:32 am

    Eric B stole my thunder, I was going to say how disappointed I was in yet another sport electing to spurn it’s fans by going the way of an exclusive but I was optimistic to see a huge hit from the last product in the line. I know that 2005 Absolute Update baseball is still revered as one of the most legendary products of that generation, let’s match if not beat it with your last hockey release (unfortunately) for a while. Thanks Tracy!

    • March 1, 2014 1:50 pm

      There’s my answer. Couldn’t agree more. Go out (temporarily) with a bang release!!!

  13. March 1, 2014 1:52 pm

    Overall, exclusive licenses just kill creativity, customer service quality and innovation. This is sad news, but I will be looking forward to the hockey releases from Panini coming out in the next few months!!

    Will you still have something at the NHL draft in Philadelphia in June??

  14. Bruce N. permalink
    March 1, 2014 5:30 pm

    The NHL and NHLPA will regret this! The “other CO” will blunder this just like the NFL/NFLPA!

  15. March 2, 2014 8:31 am

    Reblogged this on BIRDLINE TRADING and commented:
    Huge Blow to Hockey card fans

  16. March 2, 2014 8:32 am

    That sucks!!!!!!!!. 95% of my new products I offer are Panini Hockey Cards

  17. Lindas1st permalink
    March 3, 2014 4:43 pm

    So no Connor McDavid 15-16 Dominion RPA, or any other of Panini’s rookies for McD.

  18. David permalink
    March 4, 2014 9:24 pm


  19. REB permalink
    June 17, 2014 12:08 am

    Shortsighted. Panini has never been accused of the things its competitors have, namely ripping off intellectual property it doesn’t own wink wink nudge nudge RIP McWilliams

  20. Ian permalink
    July 5, 2014 1:27 pm

    Just started collecting Panini hockey products as I find them to be superior to Upper Deck in design, value and innovation. Now with Panini leaving Upper Deck can just put it in cruise control and release mediocre products which is what made me stop collecting a while back. Bad decision by the NHL. There is a reason the government doesn’t allow monopolies to exist either.

  21. July 5, 2014 2:33 pm

    Panini is world class and it is a shame that the NHL, for whatever reason, made the wrong decision not to renew the NHL hockey product license. Perhaps after the tremendous success of the recent World Cup product – the NHL will take notice and regret that licensing decision. Panini had the intestinal fortitude to gamble on the WC and it paid off big time.


  1. Upper Deck signs exclusive trading card license with NHL, NHLPA. What now? | Puck JunkPuck Junk
  2. “Pin-Up” of the Week: I’m Sticking With Panini | Sports Card Info

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