If you are reading this post, you are most likely connected enough to see that Panini made a “big” announcement today about the signing of Andrew Luck to an “exclusive deal.” Im sure your first reaction was like many, freaking out wondering if Panini had found a way to work around the NFL’s licensing deal that prevents exclusive trading card deals with its players. Let me reassure all of you, your freak out session was not in regards to anything that means anything for trading cards in any way. Luck will still be in all licensed NFL products, including those for Topps.
The question then remains, what does this actually mean for anyone who might be reading this blog. The answer is not much, as this is more of a prevention measure than anything. Even though Upper Deck does not currently own a license to produce NFL branded cards, they still operate their memorabilia store. With the opening of Panini Authentic, a direct rival of Upper Deck Authentic, Panini was looking to break into a space that still has a lot of potential. By signing guys like Luck, Blake Griffin, Kobe, and Durant, they have built a stable of guys who can make them some good money to people who buy autographed memorabilia.
Check out some of the ways these sell:
Here are similar offerings from UDA:
Actually, the dealers themselves do a lot of business buying and selling UDA and Panini Authentic gear, as many local card shops use this service to get items that they know to be real. They then sell them in their stores, and in turn, never have to plan for a collector coming back to them and returning the goods for being fake. The authentic gear also carries a huge premium for collectors, as these items are thought to be more likely to be real than even those autographs authenticated by services like PSA and JSA.
In further prevention news, Topps does not currently have a store of this sort, and as far as I have heard from dealers, do not plan to open one in the short future. However, that doesnt mean they wont decide to enter the market in the less short term future. Panini is almost in direct competition with Topps in more than one situation, and I dont blame them for wanting a leg up if Topps changes their mind.
Overall, this type of signing deal happens at least once per year, and it shouldnt make anyone squirm. That doesnt necessarily mean its worthless news, but in terms of cards, this deal is completely unrelated.