NFLPA terminates Panini deal three years early, Panini responds

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.

“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.

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.

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