The National Basketball Association has agreed an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement with the Panini Group.
The new partnership will focus on ‘redefining’ the domestic NBA trading card category in the US. As the NBA’s exclusive trading card and sticker partner, Panini will produce trading cards, stickers and albums beginning with the 2009/10 season.
With the NBA, Panini will provide significant retail marketing and promotional support, including TV, print and online initiatives, as well as in-store events for hobby shops and retailers.
"Over the years, NBA trading cards have served as an important source to connect fans of all ages with our game," said executive VP of NBA Global Merchandising Group, Sal LaRocca. "As we look to the future of our trading card business, there is general consensus, including with our current partners, Topps and Upper Deck, that moving forward with an exclusive partner is the best way for us to energise the category globally.
"We are fortunate to have had three outstanding companies interested in our trading card business and believe Panini’s position as the leading global company in this industry aligns us best with our worldwide growth strategy."
Panini’s group licensing director, Peter Warsop, added: "As the leading global sports league, the NBA provides Panini with an international platform to expand the global trading card and collectibles markets by building our business in the US and attracting new collectors around the world."