WWE Cashes In Big With New Trading Card Deal

WWE and The Panini Group announced a new multi-year deal this past week, which will make Panini WWE's exclusive trading card and collectible sticker printer.

The landmark deal will begin in the first quarter of 2022, and will include multiple trading card products during the first year. Panini's U.S. subsidiary, Panini America, will be responsible for developing the WWE trading card products.

The first product release will be the 2022 WWE Prizm series. This release will coincide with the WrestleMania 38 build-up as WWE trading card products will be available at mass retailers, hobby stores, and online.

In an update, Bloomberg reports that WWE's new deal with Panini is worth at least $10 million, which is more than three times the average annual value of the expiring agreement with Topps.

WWE first started working with Topps back in 1985, but they have also done deals with Fleer and Classic over the years. The WWE – Topps deal expires at the end of the year, and is another big licensing loss for the trading card giant.

The significant price increase for WWE is indicative of a red-hot trading card market and the leverage they held in negotiations, adds Sportico.

"We have always been intrigued by WWE as a license partner and their fans' incredible passion," said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a press release. "Our entire team is looking forward to adding WWE, a truly iconic license, to our roster of exclusive partners. We have big plans for our WWE portfolio and the new heights we can help WWE trading cards and stickers reach in the collectibles arena."

"Panini has a 60-year history in sports and entertainment collectibles and is a leader in the trading card space throughout the U.S. as well as in Latin America, Europe and Asia," added 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."