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Upper Deck responds to Panini deals with universities

Yesterday Panini announced it had signed deals with three major universities to produce trading cards using the school’s trademarks. Today Upper Deck released a statement that reaffirmed their deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company (NCAA) to also produce products with college trademarks.

Here is Upper Deck’s statement:

In 2010, the Collegiate Licensing Company and Upper Deck announced an exclusive trading card partnership that revolutionized the college trading card market. That exclusive partnership is still in effect today, and will continue well into 2015.

Upper Deck continues to be fully committed in creating the most innovative, high quality collegiate trading cards ever produced.  Previously, collegiate cards were only interspersed into professional trading card sets by the large manufacturers, and referred to as “Professional Prospect cards.”  Over the last 4 years, Upper Deck has taken collegiate cards to a whole new level, creating comprehensive school-specific trading card sets, releasing the first-ever college video trading cards, introducing never-before-seen college mascot patch cards, producing NCAA helmet cards, rare Shadow Box cards, high-value master collections and countless others.  In addition, Upper Deck has expanded well beyond the boundaries of traditional college sports to include a wide array of both men’s and women’s athletic programs that have never been featured on trading cards.

As an exclusive trading card partner of the CLC, Upper Deck has been able to responsibly manage the category, limiting releases and production so as not to saturate the market or jeopardize the steady growth and solid foundation that has taken years of hard work to build.

Upper Deck strives to bring collectors high quality products, and to deliver collegiate cards that are continuously recognized for holding some of the highest market values across the entire trading card market.

Imminent changes in 2015 have already sparked serious concerns from collectors, store owners, distributors and others in the trading card industry.  Mismanagement of the collegiate trading card license could destroy the stability that this market has come to rely on, and flood the market with an excess of products that hold little or no value.  Upper Deck is working hard to not let this happen, and is committed to delivering the most innovative, high quality collectible trading cards available in the market today, tomorrow and into the foreseeable future.

The three schools that Panini signed agreements with, the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky and the University of Miami, have broken ties with the College Licensing Company, according to a report by Sports Business Daily. This means that Upper Deck will no longer be allowed to produce cards using the trademarks of those schools. With Panini already locking up an exclusive deal with the NFLPA starting in 2016 and Upper Deck holding the exclusive rights to the NHL, things could get ugly as they two companies try to land more exclusive deals in the sports world.

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