Arlington, Texas (August 18, 2010) - Panini America, a subsidiary of The Panini Group, the leading global publisher of sports and entertainment collectibles, has entered into an exclusive relationship with John Wall, the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. The partnership with Panini America, the exclusive trading card and sticker licensee of the NBA, marks Wall's first in the collectibles category.
As part of the relationship, Panini will hold exclusive rights to Wall's signature for both trading cards and memorabilia. In addition, Panini will include Wall's image on Panini packaging and will utilize Wall in promotional appearances.
Wall, a player at the University of Kentucky, decided to forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility after being named both the 2010 SEC Tournament MVP and SEC Player of the Year. In addition, the NBA named Wall 2010 Las Vegas Summer League Most Outstanding Player. His first NBA cards will be included in Panini's 2010 NBA Prestige product, set to arrive in stores at the end of September. The collection will include cards from other top rookies including the 76ers number two draft pick, Evan Turner; New Jersey Nets, Derrick Favors; Minnesota Timberwolves, Wesley Johnson and Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins.
"We are excited to be adding John Wall to the Panini team as one of our exclusive athletes," said Mark Warsop, CEO Panini America, Inc. "We identified John as someone we thought fit well with the Panini brand and his success during the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League has us excited for the start of the season. We feel that John, Evan (Turner) and Wesley (Johnson) will help bring excitement to trading card collectors worldwide."
Panini recently made news by announcing exclusive agreements with 76ers rookie Evan Turner and Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Wesley Johnson. In advance of Panini's first season as the exclusive trading card for the NBA in 2009-10, Panini signed Sacramento Kings Guard and NBA Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans; Milwaukee Bucks Guard Brandon Jennings and the Los Angeles Clippers Forward and first pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, Blake Griffin. Panini also has an exclusive relationship with five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I'm excited to be joining the Panini team," said Washington Wizards rookie John Wall. "We've got a great group of rookies representing Panini with Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson joining me. With last year's rookies Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings having great seasons we look forward to making our own noise and helping to grow the trading card category and getting kids excited about collecting again."
As the leading global publisher of sports and entertainment collectibles, Panini has license agreements with three of the major U.S. sports, including the NFL/NFLPA, NHL/NHLPA 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 the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 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.