Last week, WWE announced they’d inked a licensing deal with Panini for trading cards & collectible stickers.
One of the reason this was big news was the company had worked with their previous partner in the space, Topps, since 1985.
The other reason is because the trading card industry has seen an upheaval in recent months thanks to the entry of a new player. Fanatics Trading Cards came into the market flush with investment capital, and signed rights deals with the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball & others. The companies those leagues and players associations left, like Topps and Panini, were left looking to lock up whatever existing and new licenses the could. As a result, a source told Sportico that WWE’s deal with Panini is a big upgrade for Vince McMahon’s company: “the low eight-figure pact is worth more than three times the average annual value of WWE’s expiring agreement with Topps.”
Also of note, this should make WWE collectibles a more global offering. According to Sportico, Panini “maintains a presence in more than 120 markets,” while “Topps is decidedly more U.S.-focused.”
Moves like this, especially when combined with all that cost-cutting from the past couple years, should make shareholders happy (and gussy up the balance sheet, further fueling “the company’s for sale!” speculation).