The world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, UFC has announced Panini America as their official and exclusive collectible trading card partner. Negotiated by IMG, this multi-year deal replaces Topps as the UFC’s trading card licensee, who were with the organization since 2008.
— Panini America (@PaniniAmerica) January 26, 2021
Commenting on the new partnership, UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski said, “We are thrilled to welcome Panini America as UFC’s new official collectible trading card partner. Many of our fans use collectible trading cards to stay connected to our brand and to their favorite UFC athletes, and Panini America is the industry leader, creating innovative and unique products for our fans to enjoy.”
Panini America CEO Mark Warsop called this partnership a dream matchup that will bring together the unquestioned leaders of trading cards and combat sports to captivate UFC fans and collectors across the globe for years. He said, “We’ve watched with great interest over the years as UFC has grown into a major force on the mainstream sports landscape with some of the most marketable athletes in the world.”
It should be noted that Panini America already has exclusive deals with the NFL, NBA and NASCAR, and holds a collegiate licensing contract, which gives it exclusive rights to use collegiate imagery and marks for officially licensed sports trading cards for CLC partner colleges and universities. This new deal with UFC further strengthens the company’s position in the US sports and entertainment industry.
Panini’s first UFC cards will be issued under its popular Prizm brand in April and continue throughout this year with releases under its other product lines such as Select (July), Contenders (September) and Immaculate (December). The Prizm release is expected to include autograph trading cards of more than 60 active fighters and 20 retired fighters.
Panini America will also capitalize on UFC’s biggest moments in real-time with the company’s direct-to-consumer Panini Instant platform, where trading cards of UFC’s biggest fights, moments and milestones will be available just hours after they happen. These made to order cards will be available for a limited time.