With any world class sporting event, merchandising becomes all too obligatory. In this case, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is not immune. Hosted in Canada, firms such as Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint have already issued some treasured collectibles.
Another unique collectible appearing in retail outlets comes via global sticker giant Panini. Having issued a commemorative sticker album, this keepsake marks a unique milestone for Panini. Of note, it marks only the second time that a sticker album focused on female soccer is being released. The first has gained collector’s item status, issued for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Completing the set shall be an ambitious task. With over 430 stickers to accumulate, the challenge is the fact that one packet only features seven stickers. Therefore, a collector would have to purchase at least 60 packets and hope to not obtain one duplicate. Luckily, online forums exist for trading while Panini offers completists the chance to purchase remaining stickers online or via mail order.
Although the print run for the 2015 sticker album shall likely be higher than the 2011 edition (taking into consideration the size of the consumer market in Canada and the United States), the outcome is likely a very popular product. In North America, where the collecting trend is trading cards, there have never been an exclusive card set devoted to female soccer.
Over the last few years, Upper Deck has released a moderate number of women’s soccer trading cards. Said cards were featured in their World of Sport card sets (released in 2011 and 2012), along with a few high numbered cards in the Major League Soccer sets. Although Donruss (whose parent company is Panini) featured a few American-born female soccer players in a card set recognizing American sports heroes, such cards have never fully realized their potential.
With Panini’s sticker album, every athlete competing at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup shall be featured. Of note, this marks a milestone for many of these athletes as they have never been featured on a sticker or other type of collectible. Such a product can only help to stimulate interest in the game while allowing the competitors to feel a certain degree of celebrity status.
Perhaps the most important legacy of the Panini Sticker Album may be the ability to encourage a trading card manufacturer to release a full set devoted exclusively to women’s soccer. It would be even more encouraging if it was a Panini-owned company such as Donruss, Playoff and/or Score that helped get the ball rolling.