Arlington, TX (March 26, 2010) - The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and National Hockey League (NHL®) has awarded The Panini Group, the leading global publisher of sports and entertainment collectables and its subsidiary, Panini America (www.paniniamerica.net) with a multi-year trading card license. The NHLPA and NHL license is the third major sports license that The Panini Group has secured since establishing a presence in the U.S. in 2009.
"The Players have partnered with Panini in order to provide collectors with classic brands and fresh collecting options across all retail price points," said Adam Larry, the NHLPA's Director of Licensing."The partnership will further expand trading cards beyond its traditional North American appeal to other hockey-loving countries, and will also provide young fans with an exciting new way to follow their hockey heroes."
The 2010-11 NHL trading card season is scheduled to launch this August and Panini has tentatively marked its Score brand to be the first release under the new license. For Panini, it means the introduction to hockey of new brands such as Adrenalyn, its interactive trading card game and Certified, and the return to the hockey market of some hobby favorites issued under previous Donruss, Score, Pinnacle and Pacific licenses.
"Panini's innovative products, passion for collecting, acquisition of the Donruss company and associated brands and, most importantly, their commitment to engage new collectors gave them the edge," said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President of Integrated Marketing.
"Panini is delighted to be extending its partnership with both the NHLPA and NHL to produce trading cards; this establishes Panini as the most comprehensive publisher of trading cards domestically and enhances the presence of North American sports cards internationally," said Mark Warsop, CEO Panini America, Inc. "We are extremely excited about growing hockey trading card sales through our extensive marketing programs, and by bringing back heritage brands such as Zenith, Score and Crown Royale."
The NHL/NHLPA trading card license is the third major U.S. sports license acquired by Panini in the last twelve months. Other license agreements include NFL/NFLPA and an Exclusive Trading Card and Sticker Partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Panini's other partnerships include an exclusive license with FIFA for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and with four-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Panini also has a successful collectibles business with consumer brands including DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon, Disney's Toy Story 3, Hannah Montana and High School Musical, and Warner Brothers' Harry Potter.
ABOUT THE NHLPA:
The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), established in 1967, is a labor organization whose members are the players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHLPA works on behalf of the players in varied disciplines such as labor relations, product licensing, marketing, international hockey and community relations, all in furtherance of its efforts to promote its members and the game of hockey. In 1999, the NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 10 years, more than 40,000 deserving children in 22 countries have benefited from the players' donations of hockey equipment. Goals & Dreams has donated more than $18-million to grassroots hockey programs, making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit www.nhlpa.com.
ABOUT THE NHL
The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is the second-oldest of the four major professional team sports leagues in North America. Today, the NHL consists of 30 Member Clubs, each reflecting the League's international makeup, with players from more than 20 countries represented on team rosters. According to a Simmons Market Research study, NHL fans are younger, more educated, more affluent, and access content through digital means more than any other sport. The NHL entertains more than 250 million fans each season in-arena and through its partners in national television (VERSUS, NBC, TSN, CBC, RDS, RIS, NASN, ASN and NHL Network™) and radio (NHL Radio™, Sirius XM, Radio and XM Canada). Through the NHL Foundation, the League's charitable arm, the NHL raises money and awareness for Hockey Fights Cancer™ and NHL Youth Development, and supports the charitable efforts of NHL players. For more information on the NHL, log on to NHL.com.
The Panini Group, established almost 50 years ago in Modena, Italy has subsidiaries throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States. Panini is the world leader in officially licensed collectables and is the leading multi-national publisher of comics, children's magazines and Manga in Europe and Latin America. Panini has distribution channels in more than 100 countries and employs a staff of over 800. For more information visit us at www.paniniamerica.net or www.paninigroup.com.