How Panini topped Topps for WWE trading card license deal

Oct 31, 2021 - by Colin Vassallo

A story on Sportico revealed the work done behind the scenes for Panini to get the WWE trading cards license from Topps.

After NFLPA, NBA, and NBPA left Panini for the new kid on the block, Fanatics, Panini wanted another solid brand to work with and that’s when WWE came into the picture.

“Panini was never aware of any previous license costs; we pitched for the WWE rights based on what we know we are capable of doing within the market, with our go-to-market strategy and our best-in-class brands. We viewed the value of the WWE rights on their own merit and what we can deliver from a global perspective,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop, who also added his company was never given the opportunity to bid on the licenses they lost to Fanatics.

WWE, on their part, saw that Panini was better-placed than Topps and Panini aggressively bid on the WWE license.

“We’re fortunate that the value of the WWE brand and our fan base allowed us to find the global partner that will help us grow in the category,” said Scott Zanghellini, SVP of revenue strategy and development at WWE.

It is believed that Panini is paying way, way, way more than Topps did for their WWE card business, with WWE scoring a major win in fees.

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