The NFLPA sent an email after 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday, informing recipients that it terminated its trading card agreement with Panini. Three years before it was supposed to end.
The NFLPA has terminated its trading card agreement with Panini, effective immediately.
Fanatics now holds exclusive rights to produce NFLPA-branded trading cards.
Email was just sent out informing contract advisors of the decision: pic.twitter.com/FGK3lBGHSn
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 21, 2023
“Effective immediately, Fanatics has the exclusive right to make NFLPA-branded trading cards,” the NFLPA wrote in its email.
The association also stated this decision did not impact individual players’ contractual agreements with Panini, and it recommends encouraging players to fulfill these contractual commitments to Panini.
In Tuesday’s response, Panini says it felt the NFLPA’s action is unwarranted and improper, stating “unprecedented sales” of NFL cards by the company.
“Panini has grown the category of sports trading cards by over 1,000 percent since 2009, to the benefit of all concerned,” the company wrote.
Panini does in fact have contracts with 360 players, but companies that don’t have group licensing rights, as the union asserts they no longer have, cannot produce product with more than five players.
Panini can have those players autograph items, but their contracts don’t act… https://t.co/zQ9AJ2rHAf
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 22, 2023
The response also says Panini believes the only party benefiting from the NFLPA’s move is Fanatics, not players, the league, or consumers.
Panini says it has a license with the NFL and 360 individual players and will honor all contractual obligations.
An interesting note made by Action Network’s Darren Rovell, who’s covering this story extensively, is that 1st Off The Line 2023 Donruss Elite Football is up for sale on Panini’s website as of the writing of this article.
Panini took over the NFL license in 2016 and, as stated prior, was supposed to have it until it expired in 2026.
This news coming on the heels of Panini suing Fanatics for antitrust and Fanatics countersuing is another chapter to the ongoing saga.