WWE has reportedly terminated its deal with trading card company Panini due to a breach of contract.
According to Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell, Panini had over two years left on the deal before the termination. WWE has stated that Panini is still selling WWE products, which is a violation of the contract, and they will seek an injunction.
The termination of the deal has paved the way for Fanatics, a partner of WWE on merchandise, to step in and take over the trading card deal immediately. Fanatics, which had a deal with WWE set to begin in 2026, is now expected to fill the void left by Panini.
Both WWE and Panini have filed cases against each other in relation to the termination. Panini claims that they have fulfilled all their obligations under the contract and that WWE’s termination is a breach of contract. They are seeking to have the termination declared invalid.
The deal between WWE and Panini was initially agreed upon on March 14th, 2022, with the intention of producing trading cards and stickers using WWE intellectual property. Panini launched the WWE Prizm trading card set in April 2022, along with stickers the following month. The trading cards were available in both digital and physical formats and were used in games like Box Wars or Pack Wars played at conventions.
Panini asserts that WWE never raised any issues with their performance, accepted royalty payments, and even praised them for their success in tripling the business. However, WWE allegedly terminated the deal abruptly, claiming that Panini did not make sufficient efforts to produce physical trading card games and digital trading cards.
JUST IN: Two weeks ago, the WWE terminated Panini for breach of contract with 2+ years left.
The WWE says Panini, which is still selling product, is now in violation and will seek an injunction.
Fanatics, which had deal starting in ‘26, is expected to get rights immediately.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 20, 2023
How Much Money Does WWE Want From Panini?
WWE demanded that Panini immediately pay them $5,625,000, which is the minimum royalties due under the contract. Panini argues that the window to terminate under the provision mentioned by WWE has already passed, which was between April 1st and June 1st, 2022.
In response, Panini is seeking declarations that they have not breached the contract, that WWE’s termination is invalid, that the contract remains in effect, and that they are not obligated to pay the $5,625,000 demanded by WWE.