Fanatics strikes again.
Michael Rubin’s $31 billion sports memorabilia behemoth has earned another key victory in its battle with longtime trading card company Panini.
Fanatics is set to start its WWE trading card licensing deal several years early — immediately taking over the rights held by Panini until now. WWE — which already had an apparel deal with Fanatics — has reportedly ended its Panini deal, which was set to expire in 2026, due to breach of contract. Specific details are unclear.
It’s the second time in as many months that Fanatics has undercut Panini and convinced a partner to start a deal early. In August, the NFLPA opted to immediately begin its 20-year trading card partnership with Fanatics, also set to start in 2026.
Before the NFLPA situation, Panini had filed an antitrust suit against Fanatics claiming the company violated federal law with its dominant entry into the trading card business.
Fanatics Not Slowing Down
Since acquiring Topps in 2022, Fanatics has been on a laser-focused mission to control the sports collectibles space.
It also has trading card deals with the NBA and MLB and those leagues’ players associations, and is set to take over the league-wide NFL rights in 2026. And that’s on top of the company’s apparel deals with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS, among others.
Fanatics is also becoming a player in sports betting, recently acquiring the U.S. operations of PointsBet for $225 million.