Over the last year, Panini has had a deal with the NFLPA as the exclusive provider of player licensed trading cards starting in 2016. During that year, no deal had been announced in regards to the other 50% of the deal. A few months ago, we found out that the deal with the licensing arm of the NFL was now in place, securing a full trading card exclusive starting next year. What was still in flux was the exclusivity of the digital side, which impacts the potential license secured by Huddle at the start of the 2015 season.
On the Panini blog today, they finally addressed the nature of the deal in a public format, and as expected, a very clear confirmation that the exclusive DOES NOT apply to digital cards. This is obviously great news for all of the fans of Huddle, and opens the door for ongoing years of NFL licensed cards in the app.
As I reported when the deal was first discovered, digital and physical cards do not occupy the same league license. The rights are negotiated separately, and from what I would guess, the league has to be pretty happy with what Huddle has accomplished so far in 2015. Panini does have a new digital card app in the app store, but it is no where near the level that Huddle is. Its like comparing driving a power wheels to driving an actual car.
When the digital market eventually grows to larger proportions, there is always a possibility that things could change. However, I dont foresee that being a concern any longer, especially with Huddle continuing to show up on the highest grossing app list on a regular basis.
Panini may have the trading card world on lockdown, but Topps Digital remains the dominant force on the other side of the aisle. Hopefully that will be the case for many many years.
Here is a link to the article: