|MLBPA Press Release|
Panini will make its MLBPA-partnership debut with the December release of 2011 Elite Extra Edition, followed by 2011 Contenders Baseball, which will include the first Panini autographs of All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player also will appear on packaging for future Panini products.
"We're very pleased to be working with Panini. They have consistently developed innovative products that appeal to collectors of all ages both here in America and around the world," said Evan Kaplan, director of licensing & business development for the Major League Baseball Players Association. "Panini's MLBPA-licensed products will present Major League baseball players in a unique and exciting way."
"The relationship with the MLBPA represents the culmination of a goal that we committed to when Panini entered the U.S. market just over two years ago, that of having a licensed presence in all four of the major sports in the U.S., and to utilize Panini's creative approach to enhance the overall experience for collectors," said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. "We are excited to join as a partner of the MLBPA and look forward to working with the MLBPA to continue to raise the visibility of their players and engage new collectors."
Panini America is the only company in the world that manufactures fully licensed trading cards and stickers for the NBA, NFL, NFL PLAYERS, NHL, NHLPA, MLBPA and FIFA World Cup. The company also owns exclusive entertainment licenses with Disney, Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson, and more than 600 global licenses with other sports and entertainment properties.