By Allison Watkinson
Panini America has signed a new NIL licensing partnership with All-America volleyball player Lexi Rodriguez from the University of Nebraska.
The new partnership with Rodriguez represents Panini’s first name, image, and likeness (NIL) partnership with a female collegiate athlete.
Rodriguez will be featured in a line of limited-edition collectible trading cards. She will also take part in Panini America’s upcoming NIL marketing initiatives.
“Lexi is an outstanding athlete and a trailblazer for us, in that she represents our first partnership with a female collegiate NIL athlete,” said Panini America SVP, Jason Howarth. “We look forward to featuring her as part of our NIL products and taking part in marketing initiatives.”
A subsidiary of The Panini Group, Panini America is a manufacturing and publishing company that specializes in licensed collectibles.
Panini America creates officially licensed trading cards, stickers, and collectibles for sports and entertainment properties.
The company provides products for licensees such as the NFL, collegiate sports organizations, the NBA, NASCAR, Disney, FIFA, UFC, and many more.
“Being the first female NIL athlete for Panini is such a huge honor,” said Rodriguez. “There’s lots of deals out there for men’s sports, so I am super excited that Panini is also turning to providing opportunities for women’s sports in NIL and I’m grateful they have chosen me to be the first. This is just another opportunity that little girls will see that can give them hope for the future of women’s sports and being able to collect their favorite players!”
Lexi Rodriguez is a DS/Libero for the University of Nebraska’s Cornhuskers volleyball team.
She ascended to the top spot in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll following a successful match against the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 21, 2023.
Rodriguez was the first-team All-America in 2021, and then was named second team All-America last season.
Rodriguez’s first licensed Panini trading cards will launch on the company’s Panini Instant direct-to-consumer ecommerce platform.
The real-time direct-to-consumer product platform is available through the company’s official website.
Rodriguez joins Panini America’s existing portfolio of NIL athletes which includes college sports stars such as Quinn Ewers, Arch Manning, Michael Penix Jr., Rome Odunze, Joe Milton, and more.
By Allison Watkinson