Panini Continues Its Reign Over the NBA With An Extended Exclusive Deal

Today, Panini announced that they have been granted an extension on their exclusive license to produce NBA trading cards. To say that this is a disappointment for many basketball collectors out there may not do it the justice it deserves. After some recent releases by Upper Deck, as well as the history UD has with the hobby, there were many that were hoping the NBA would consider a two license league. “Hoping for” compared against actual reality can be very far apart, as I was not among those who thought UD had a chance to break back into the licensed game. Its not in the cards, if you know what I mean.

That’s not to say that Upper Deck doesnt have the following to make it should they ever get  another chance. I have long said that they deserve a lot of credit for making things work the way they have, especially with the enormous success of Fleer Retro and All Time Greats. Although Exquisite didnt get the rave reviews from the loyalists, it has been a product that many have given positive remarks to, something I havent seen in a long time in regards to a Panini product.

When the most successful product of the year IS NOT coming from the company that has the exclusive license, isnt that a problem? Take a look:

2012 Fleer Retro Sealed Case

2012 Fleer Retro Sealed Case #2

Panini doesnt have the potential to make cards like this either:

2012 Fleer Retro Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems Green /10

2012 Fleer Retro Michael Jordan Jambalaya Auto Buyback 1/1

2012 Fleer Retro Bill Russell Precious Metal Gems Green /10

2012 Fleer Retro LeBron James Precious Metal Gems Green /10

When I was writing about the previous UD releases, I said that I do not believe Panini truly understands what it takes to be successful in the NBA market. That is my opinion after seeing a failure to thrive with all of their mid end stuff, as many of their forgettable sets do not fair well against the stunning history that Upper Deck had provided with its releases. Additionally, the absence of the two biggest names in the game is a huge problem, as Jordan and Lebron drive the majority of the value in a high end product. Upper Deck also possesses an uncanny ability to create amazing looking cards, something we have yet to see in the same capacity over at Panini.

Bottom line, exclusives suck overall. I absolutely hate everything that they stand for, all the problems they cause, and I wish they would go away all together. Not just in terms of league licenses, but player and other exclusives too. In many of the cases, the collectors are the ones that lose, as they do not get the type of variety that they should be entitled to. Variety is the spice of life, even if that means that inferior products eventually make it into the hands of collectors. Most of the time, each company has the potential to contribute something worthwhile, and with exclusives in place, that potential is lost. I think many of the people who like Hockey cards are perfectly satisfied with two companies both have a shot at things, just as I am in football. Even though I dislike most of what Panini does, I still want them to have the opportunity to improve, and there are people that feel the same way about Topps.

If we had a world without exclusives, everyone would have access to every player in every sport. That’s a world I would like to live in.

4 thoughts on “Panini Continues Its Reign Over the NBA With An Extended Exclusive Deal

  1. Upper Deck and the NBA are NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER!!!!
    Clean out your desks boys as deals are going to continue to go elsewhere.

    Panini is headed in the right direction and UD will soon be dumped in the
    trading card junkyard with the likes of Classic, Wildcard, Proset, Collectors Edge etc.

  2. Please point out how Panini is heading int he right direction… Other that Hoops, I’ve had no interest in any of their other sets. Boring cards and that’;s with two rookie classes. I didn’t expect UD to get a licence back but I thought Topps might show up. Desperate for some BBall competition.

  3. This is a complete fail for the hobby in general! Panini day after day proves that are not competent and have no interest in producing quality and innovative cards. I think UD has proven it can survive without The NBA and NFL license…but can the hobby? Richard McClovin up there says he worked for Upper Deck once…thats a “Peach” of a lie…..just my guess

  4. Panini heading in the right direction, LOL. Funny how most sports is considered competitive in nature, however quite the opposite when those sports faces are put on cardboard. Business savvy, exclusive contracts? Panini would prefer to play the game with themselves than to actually compete on a fair level playing field. Goes for the rest of them out there.

    Gathered from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Fact Sheet

    ‘Competition in the marketplace is good for
    Consumers—and good for business, too. It
    benefits consumers by keeping prices low and
    the quality and choice of products and services
    high. It benefits businesses by promoting
    innovation—improvements to make products
    different—and often, to make them better in
    ways that consumers want.
    More choices, better prices, and higher quality
    are good for you.’

    Kiss that all goodbye Hobby Card consumers! Players allowed to sell out to the highest bidder. Why should it change…. Exclusive contracts had been around at least since1960 with Ted Williams and the Topps/Fleer wars that followed… This Hobby is doomed! Man, I hope I’m wrong.

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