The National Basketball Association has announced that it will be granting an exclusive, multi-year license to Italian collectibles company Panini beginning with the 2009-10 season and running until at least 2011-12.

It will be interesting to see what happens regarding Michael Jordan autograph cards. Upper Deck currently holds an exclusive, multi-year deal with Michael Jordan (and LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett). Will Panini be able to secure a deal with Upper Deck? Or is the current merchandise available all we will have for the time being?

It’s hard to believe that the cards and companies we have taken for granted all these years won’t be producing any new sets (for a while at least). It looks like the amount of money involved for the license just blew away what other companies were prepared to invest.

What will the lack of competition do to the marketplace? Will the secondary card market explode as a result of this?

In less than a year we will know I suppose…