Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Panini America signs 5 top NBA prospects

Forwarded by Russ Cohen, posted by Rick Morris

ARLINGTON, Texas and NEW YORK – June 24, 2009 - Panini America, Inc. has signed five of the NBA’s top draft prospects to exclusive trading card agreements, marking its first player endorsement deals since entering into a partnership with the NBA in January, the company announced today at the NBA Store in New York City. Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (UNC), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Brandon Jennings (Lottomatica Virtus Roma,Italy), and Hasheem Thabeet (UCONN) will be featured in all 2009-10 Panini NBA card products, and on select packaging and advertisements throughout the year. In addition, exclusive autograph cards from these five players will be prominently featured in Panini America’s first line of NBA products.

Panini’s first release for 2009 will be called Prestige and will be the company’s first set of NBA rookie cards. Prestige will feature the five players in their respective NBA team uniforms* and will release in October 2009.

“Blake, Tyler, Jordan, Brandon, and Hasheem are all special players who we believe will have great careers in the NBA,” said Panini America President Mike Eisenstein. “Rookies are a key part of the trading card business and we’re excited that fans will have the opportunity to receive autographed cards of these great players exclusively in Panini packs. As we look forward to beginning our first year as the NBA’s exclusive trading card partner, it was important for us to build around great basketball players and great people. We feel strongly that these five will make a positive impact both on and off the court.”

In January 2009, the Panini Group announced it will become the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA beginning with the 2009-10 season. The Panini Group purchased the industry’s second-oldest trading card company Donruss in March 2009 and formed the new subsidiary, Panini America, Inc.

*Upon being selected by an NBA team in the 2009 NBA Draft presented by EA Sports.

The Panini Group was established almost 50 years ago in Modena, Italy and with its subsidiaries throughout Europe and Latin America, it is the world leader in the published Collectibles sector. Panini is also the leading multi-national publisher of comics, children’s magazines and manga in Europe and Latin America. The Panini Group, which approached $1 billion in sales in 2008, has distribution in 100 countries and employs a staff of more than 700.

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