NBA strengthens China focus with Panini Group deal

MUMBAI: The National Basketball Association (NBA) and sports and entertainment collectibles company the Panini Group have announced an extension of their partnership through a new multi-year agreement.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Panini will continue to be the exclusive trading card and sticker partner for the NBA globally, expanding its current development and distribution of trading cards and products worldwide, with a particular focus on China. The relationship will be managed by the Panini Group‘s U.S. subsidiary, Panini America.

This renewal reinforces Panini‘ position as the only company in the world to manufacture official trading cards and stickers for the NBA, NFL, NFLPA, NHL, NHLPA, MLBPA, and FIFA World Cup. Panini‘s array of NBA products, which include "National Treasures" and "Prestige," is designed to attract new and existing collectors, and to establish a high-end marketplace for NBA trading cards and related products domestically and internationally.

NBA executive VP global merchandising group Sal LaRocca said, "Our companies share a collective interest in promoting our brands worldwide. Panini has continually demonstrated the ability and commitment to creating products that appeal to our fans on a global basis."

Panini America CEO Mark Warsop said, "The popularity of the NBA game globally is unmatched and, with new NBA superstars emerging, it‘s an exciting time to collect NBA trading cards, which are not only fun but highly sought after in the secondary trading card market. In the last three years, there has not been a more valuable modern-day trading card than our National Treasures NBA product that included a 1-of-1 Blake Griffin NBA Logoman Rookie card that sold on the secondary market for $38,000. This new long-term agreement with the NBA serves as the foundation to our future growth and our long-term commitment to the trading card category."

The Panini Group has relationships with players, including five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. In May Panini Authentic, Panini‘s memorabilia division, signed the Dallas Mavericks as its first exclusive game-worn team partner. Panini also has relationships with USA Basketball, USA Baseball, the U.S. Soccer Women‘s National Team, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Disney, Hello Kitty, Justin Bieber, One Direction and Michael Jackson and more than 600 global licenses with other sports and entertainment properties.

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