Panini just announced that they have signed a non-exclusive multi-year contract with NHL and the NHLPA. Panini plans on releasing the first set for the 2010-11 NHL season in August under the Score label and will also be releasing sets using the Donruss, Pinnacle and Pacific labels.
This now gives Panini licenses with the NBA (exclusive), NFL and NHL plus FIFA for the upcoming World Cup (and the 2014 World Cup). Are they going to be taking over the collecting world in just a short time of existence in the US?
Topps can survive on baseball, that is for certain, but can Upper Deck survive? There is the current rumor that they will be dropped from the NFL license, and if that is true will the NFL reward Topps with their license back or will Panini become the NFL’s exclusive brand? Can Upper Deck survive on the NHL and NCAA or will the potential loss of the NFL license be the death strike to the company? Also, can the NHL/Panini agreement mark the beginning of an exclusive license for Panini? Now that would almost certainly mean a quick end for Upper Deck if they loose the NFL too