Panini becomes first trading card brand to enter the esports arena

It may have flown somewhat under the radar, but Panini has become the first major collectables and trading card brand to enter the realm of esports.

The collectables company struck a one year deal with CompLexity Gaming in late January in an agreement that includes trading cards and posters for the esports franchise, as well as the launch of a Panini Twitch channel managed by the team.

On the channel, traditional sports athletes with Panini relationships will play games together and create other content with CompLexity athletes and streamers. They will also crate Panini giveaways and promotional content to support Panini’s NFL and NBA products.

“We have been working here internally to figure out how we fit into the esports realm, and we have always felt we need to do more than just produce trading cards with teams,” said Jason Howarth, Panini vice president of marketing.

“There has to be some engagement component, and there has to be some compelling reason for us to step in, and this 360 degree approach to the relationship is what makes it compelling.”

CompLexity has eight competitive teams in titles such as the Epic Games owned Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Madden and Rocket League along with streamers.

Physical products produced via the partnership will be signed by players and streamers at fan meet and greets and sold at team headquarters at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Panini has already signed a deal with the Cowboys.

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