If you havent been on Twitter today, Panini made the announcement at the national convention that they had acquired rights to the NFLPA exclusive starting in 2016. We already knew that though, as the rumor had been all but confirmed on twitter over the last few weeks.
I have already posted two lengthy explanations of why this is bad, and you can read them at the links below.
Similarly, there is a second part of this announcement that is floating around that Im sure will come either later this week or sometime in the near future. Dont worry, no more exclusives are coming – yet, but there is another license up in the air that Panini looks to have secured a part of. Scary thing is, it only puts them one step closer to their eventual goal of eliminating all competition in the market.
Here is what you need to know:
- Starting in 2016, NFLPA exclusive rights will be given to Panini
- Although NFLP License which controls logos and uniforms is not exclusive yet, its very difficult to operate without the full NFLPA cooperation
- They have been granted room to expand their product line past the number they had in the last few years
- Topps will likely be out of football cards for the length of the license
- This is unusual in the way they went about doing this – as usually the PA follows the league license, not the other way around
- Make your voice heard by tweeting @NFLPA, @NFLPlayersInc and @NFL
The scary thing is, I spoke about cash flow in a previous article (above), and how Panini presents a level of stability in that regard. With that stability comes the notion that they can spend enough money on licenses that it almost makes it a foregone conclusion that they will shoot for the stars when other licenses come up. Baseball will come eventually, and without NFL revenue and the things that come with it, its possible Topps may not be able to outbid them. Considering they are already in a situation where they need money, it could get worse earlier rather than later.
Everyone seems to think that Panini will want to buy Topps or buy Upper Deck, but I am not sure if its that simple – especially when the company value and worth can be cheapened through pot shots at their licensing situations. Panini’s people are rumored to be more concerned with eliminating them than buying them.
So, officially, 2015 will be the last chance you have to buy any Topps Football products licensed by the NFLPA. Although Topps Football isnt quite dead yet, its definitely on life support and I could not be more distraught about that.