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Digital collectibles focus of NHL’s Upper Deck extension

Preeminent ice hockey league prolongs longstanding exclusive trading card deal.

by Sam Carp

Digital collectibles focus of NHL’s Upper Deck extension

The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have extended their exclusive trading card deal with the Upper Deck Company.

The multi-year partnership will have a heavy focus on the California-based manufacturer’s e-Pack digital trading card series, a digital-to-physical collecting platform which was launched in 2015 and enables fans to purchase trading cards from anywhere in the world.

Using Upper Deck’s platform, NHL fans are able to digitally buy, open and store e-Packs online before receiving a physical version of the cards from the company.

North America’s preeminent ice hockey league first joined forces with Upper Deck ahead of the 1990/91 season before making the company its first ever exclusive trading card partner in 2004.

"Upper Deck has continually delivered top-notch, innovative products that emotionally connect fans of all ages worldwide to their favourite teams and players,” said Brian Jennings, chief branding officer at the NHL. “We look forward to collaborating with Upper Deck to ensure that the next generation of fans can enjoy this time-honoured tradition."

"The renewal of the exclusive agreements between Upper Deck, the NHLPA and the NHL is a tribute to the success of a partnership that dates back to 1990 and continues to grow in North America and around the world," added Upper Deck president Jason Masherah. "It celebrates our shared commitment to keep innovation and quality at the core of our business and to bring hockey cards and collectibles to new consumers on a global scale."

The NHL is the latest North American major league to shift its focus to digital collectibles. Over the past 12 months cryptocurrency trading card solutions have been adopted by the likes of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the National Football League (NFL) and the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), although Upper Deck is yet to develop that technology.