Jun 27, 2012

Sponsorship deal before draft day? Sure, why not?

Last year, Panini America was able to secure the rights of some of the expectant stars of the 2011 NBA Draft Class — Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams among them — and this year they’re building on that idea, signing projected first round picks Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes to exclusive trading cards agreements, prior to Thursday’s 2012 NBA draft.

This year, Panini will not only include the aforementioned 2012 draft standouts in a trading card release, the company has combined the 2012 standouts with rookie stars from the 2011 class to create a “double rookie card class”, which will be released later this year.

“We’re genuinely excited to add these gentlemen – the next generation of NBA superstars – to the Panini America family, and we can’t wait to get their first trading cards into the hands of fans and collectors,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “The presence of these players in our complete line of 2012-13 products, in concert with the best rookies from the 2011-12 season, will create an unprecedented opportunity for fans and collectors to pursue a Double Rookie Card class in Panini America’s official NBA products throughout the entire season.”

In addition to the previously mentioned draft standouts, Panini has also inked exclusive deals with Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers, Jared Sullinger and John Henson.

“By adding this dynamic group of players to its roster, Panini America has bolstered what promises to be a great season for NBA trading cards,” said Lisa Goldberg, the NBA’s Vice President of Licensing and Global Merchandising. “Panini America continues to create new and innovative ways to generate excitement in the trading card industry and the 2012-13 double Rookie Card program is another example.”

Noticeably absent is expected #1 overall pick, Anthony Davis. While Davis may have yet to capitalize on the Panini opportunity, he currently has his eyes, and his eyebrow, focused on other marketing opportunities.

Panini has been the exclusive training card partner of the NBA since the 2009-10 season. The company also has exclusive relationships with USA Basketball, USA Baseball, and the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team.

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