By Barry Janoff
April 28, 2014: Johnny Manziel, who is expected to be among the top quarterbacks selected in the NFL Draft next week, has signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Panini America, a leading sports and entertainment trading and collectable company.
Manziel — whose highly marketable nickname is "Johnny Football" — will join Panini as an exclusive athlete for autographed memorabilia through Panini Authentic, the autograph and memorabilia division of Panini America.
Manziel joins other exclusive Panini Authentic athletes including NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving; and NFL players Andrew Luck and EJ Manuel.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy as a rookie with Texas A&M in 2012, also has deals that include Burger King and Nike.
“Johnny Manziel is one of the most exciting players to enter the NFL Draft in quite some time and his arrival has been heavily anticipated for years by fans and collectors alike," Mark Warsop, CEO for Panini America, said in a statement. "He’s at the head of a 2014 draft class that will drive trading card sales not just in 2014, but for many years afterward. Making Johnny an exclusive member of the Panini America family has been a top priority for us since he declared for the NFL Draft."
This autographed memorabilia – including signed helmets, jerseys and photographs – is available exclusively on the Panini Authentic Web site.
Manziel’s first NFL Rookie Cards and autographed cards will arrive in the May release of Panini America’s 2014 Score Football, where he will debut on NFL-licensed product packaging as a Panini athlete. Panini said it would also have "some other unique plans for collectors of Johnny’s NFL autographed trading cards," which will be available in all 2014-15 Panini NFL trading card products.
“Manziel is one of the most exciting players to enter the NFL Draft in some time and his arrival has been heavily anticipated for years by fans and collectors."
According to Manziel, “I’m honored that Panini America wanted me to be a part of their great team. I remain focused and committed to doing everything I can — on the field and off — to be the best quarterback I can be.”
“We’re excited to add him to the Panini Authentic family as an exclusive autograph and memorabilia athlete," said Warsop. "Fans and collectors can take comfort in knowing that going forward, all of his autograph and memorabilia signings will be witnessed by a Panini Authentic representative and will have serial Panini Authentic holograms on products and matching COAs to ensure authenticity for all collectors."
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