The trading card industry has been big business recently with all “big four” American sports leagues announcing new or renewed trading card rights deals within the past few months. This time, it’s WWE’s turn as the company announces that Panini will be their exclusive trading card and collectible sticker partner. Panini replaces Topps, who has been with WWE since 2008.
Set to begin in the first quarter of 2022, Panini will launch WWE Prizm during the buildup surrounding WrestleMania, which was just recently announced to be split into two days (April 2 and 3). Cards will be available online, at retail stores like Walmart and Target, and at many places trading cards are sold.
Panini is a key for potential international business for WWE. While Panini’s U.S. subsidiary, Panini America, will be handing WWE’s business, one cannot ignore Panini’s worldwide popularity in soccer with their World Cup sticker books. Said Scott Zanghellini, WWE Senior Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Development, “We believe that this partnership perfectly aligns our mutual interests in providing fans with exclusive collectibles and, ultimately, growing this category globally.”
WWE is entering Panini’s plans at a very interesting time. The NFLPA and NBA/NBPA recently announced they were leaving Panini and while that’s unfortunate, that can become a positive for both Panini and WWE. Panini can entertain new partners like WWE and reach a potential new consumer base while WWE can receive more attention from Panini. Add that the UFC recently announced a partnership with Panini, the company appears to be interested in creating a lasting bond within the MMA/pro wrestling sector of the sports world.