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Panini Situation

August 30, 2010

In my last blog entry I informed collectors of a clause in the agreement Panini is signing with hockey players for their inaugural season. This clause would prohibit a player from signing autographs for In The Game even though many of these players will be playing in the AHL and CHL this coming year. In The Game currently has license agreements with both of these leagues.

There have been some comments on collector forums about the situation I reported. One of the comments was that the clause in the Panini agreement I published would not prohibit In The Game from getting players to sign labels or stickers. That is not the case. The following is the first paragraph from the Panini agreement.

“This agreement (this “Agreement”), dated as of        , 2010, is by and between          ,an individual (“Player”), and Panini America, Inc., a Delaware Corporation (“Company”). This Agreement relates to the participation by Player in Company’s trading cards and trading card components of all shapes, sizes, formats, mediums, and compositions, including those using stickers, number pieces, letters, game-used or other memorabilia or equipment (collectively, the “Cards”).”

The second comment made relates to whether this clause was the brainchild of Panini or the NHLPA. Frankly, I don’t really know the answer to that question, nor does it really matter. It is Panini’s agreement regardless of who helped them draft it and Panini is trying to prohibit AHL and CHL players from signing autographs for In The Game.

You can be sure that In The Game is going to take action on a player-by-player basis where we feel that Panini has interfered with our business.

My personal opinion is that Panini should pay more attention of their real competitor, Upper Deck and stop worrying about In The Game.

In the past, In The Game has had a policy of not signing players on an exclusive basis. We wanted to allow collectors to collector their favorite player regardless of whose product they purchased. I guess we will have to start rethinking that policy.

Brian Price

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