NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the union that represents the league’s players, signed an exclusive agreement that makes Panini America the sole manufacturer of licensed trading cards and collectible stickers.
The multiyear agreement begins with the 2016 National Football League season.
Keith Gordon, president of NFL Players Inc., said in a telephone interview the agreement will give the association access to a new demographic of fans because of Panini’s commitment to innovation.
“The base is aging, and it’s not growing, but contracting,” Gordon said. “The efforts from Panini to attract a younger base, tomorrow’s collector, is what makes them the right partner.”
Panini also has an exclusive contract with the National Basketball Association, as well as official licenses with the National Hockey League and its union; FIFA, soccer’s governing body; and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The company is a unit of The Panini Group, which was founded almost 50 years ago in Italy and is one of the leading publishers of children’s magazines and books.
Panini’s exclusive athletes include Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.
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