2018 NFL Rookies to Learn Business of Football, Connect with Partners at 24th Annual NFLPA Rookie Premiere Presented By PANINI AMERICA

First major business event for NFL rookies hosted by the NFLPA in Los Angeles includes partner content capture, Nike jersey reveal, and the highly anticipated Panini America trading card photo shoot in official Nike team uniform


Media Contact

Jenna Sobray, NFLPA,



First major business event for NFL rookies hosted by the NFLPA in Los Angeles includes partner content capture, Nike jersey reveal, and the highly anticipated Panini America trading card photo shoot in official Nike team uniform

ACE Media to produce rookie features and series with media distribution partners

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2018 – Forty top rookies from the 2018 NFL Draft will gather in Los Angeles May 17-20 to learn the business of football and jumpstart their off-the-field careers at the 24th annual NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Rookie Premiere presented by Panini America. More than 30 NFLPA business partners will engage with the latest group of promising young stars to create content for seasonal campaigns, secure endorsement deals, promote licensed products through group player rights and showcase goods and services throughout the multi-day event.

Hosted by the NFLPA via its marketing and licensing arm NFL Players Inc., the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere will feature long-awaited moments for the rookies such as the unveiling of their official Nike jerseys on Friday, followed by wearing their official Nike team uniforms for the first time during Saturday’s all-day photo shoot with the NFLPA’s exclusive trading card licensee, Panini America.

“The NFLPA Rookie Premiere is our Super Bowl. The event is so important to us because it gives us the ability to sit down with the top 40 NFL Rookies we believe will be the most collectable and will drive the trading card category for the upcoming season. It allows us to capture the players in their official Nike jerseys before they step on a field, allowing us to produce trading cards for the entire season, capture marketing content and drive sales initiatives,” said Jason Howarth, Vice President of Marketing, Panini America.

An important annual date on the football calendar, NFLPA Rookie Premiere is the first major business and marketing event following the NFL Draft, where players gain insights and make connections that will assist in the development of their personal brands and careers on and off the field. Participating players will also go through a brief orientation which will highlight the union’s programs and services.

This year’s NFLPA partner lineup is headlined by the event’s presenting sponsor, Panini America, followed by Altered Reality Corp., Bose, Bud Light, CampusLore, CARD.com, Damari Savile, Delta Private Jets, EA SPORTS, élevée, ESPN’s Matthew Berry, FedEx, Fanatics, Fanatics Authentic, Gatorade, Lyft, Mophie, New Era, NFL Auction, NFL Digital Media, NFL Extra Points, Nike, Normatec, opendorse, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Skittles, Sleep Number, Snickers, Sports Illustrated, StatMuse, Tostitos, Whistle Sports, WHOOP, and more. Additionally, during Saturday’s Panini America photo shoot, rookies will be provided grooming, personal care and other official locker room products from Procter & Gamble.

Among the rookies expected to participate are (based on draft order): Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, Cleveland Browns), Saquon Barkley (Penn State, New York Giants), Sam Darnold (Southern Cal, New York Jets), Bradley Chubb (N.C. State, Denver Broncos), Josh Allen (Wyoming, Buffalo Bills), Josh Rosen (UCLA, Arizona Cardinals), D.J. Moore (Maryland, Carolina Panthers), Hayden Hurst (South Carolina, Baltimore Ravens), Calvin Ridley (Alabama, Atlanta Falcons), Rashaad Penny (San Diego State, Seattle Seahawks), Sony Michel (Georgia, New England Patriots), Ronald Jones II (Southern Cal, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Mike Gesicki (Penn State, Miami Dolphins). For a complete roster click here.

“NFLPA Rookie Premiere is the best opportunity for our partners to engage early on with the next wave of marketable young stars entering the league,” said Ahmad Nassar, President, NFL Players Inc. “Beyond providing a platform to learn about the business of football and benefits of their union as they plan for their new careers, Rookie Premiere allows players to showcase their personalities so that we can use that insight to connect the right players with the right brands to advance their stories and campaigns.”

Athlete Content & Entertainment (ACE Media), the athlete-driven content and production business of the NFLPA, will be on site producing features and series with media distribution and brand partners including Sports Illustrated, CampusLore, EA SPORTS and Fanatics. ACE Media will also be gathering content for the docuseries, Next Level: Behind Baker. Since 2015, ACE Media has produced, created or facilitated over 1,750 unique content features and projects in collaboration with more than 30 different companies and more than 1,250 unique athletes from a variety of professional sports.

Launched in Los Angeles in 1994, NFLPA Rookie Premiere has been a pioneering event in professional sports, providing business partners with unparalleled early access to the game’s marketable new stars. Each year, the NFLPA facilitates more than 100 individual player service deals for Rookie Premiere participants. The event also generates numerous business opportunities for current and former players.

Media and fans can follow Twitter (@NFLPA), Facebook (NFL Players Association), Instagram (@NFLPA) and NFLPA Snapchat stories, and via #RookiePremiere for updates, exclusive photos, video, and news throughout 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere.


About the NFL Players Association

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020.

About NFL Players Inc.

NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFLPA, connects businesses to the power of NFL players. NFL Players Inc. creates customized business solutions for partners, through licensing, marketing strategy, and player activations. For more information, please visit nflpa.com/players.

About Athlete Content and Entertainment Media
Athlete Content & Entertainment (ACE Media) is a world class content development and production company built to unlock the enormous content potential of professional athletes. Owned by the NFL Players Association and select strategic partners, ACE Media delivers unparalleled access to create original sports-lifestyle content across all sports and all media platforms.

Media Contacts:
Jenna Sobray, NFLPA, Jenna.Sobray@nflpa.com or 202-572-7458
Zach Hrubic, Coyne, zhrubic@coynepr.com or 212-938-0168