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What Does FOTL Mean in Sports Cards?


Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.


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In sports cards, FOTL stands for First Off the Line. It’s a product variation from Panini that typically offers exclusive parallels, under the selling point that it’s the “first” of the boxes to be produced and sold.

Now, if you don’t know what FOTL stands for, there is a good chance the previous sentence definition is full of other words that need defining as well.

First, when I say “product variation” I’m referring to the fact that First Off the Line isn’t a standalone card brand, per se, and is more of an offshoot or spin off of another release.

For example, you have the 2021 Panini National Treasures Football Hobby Box release, but then you also have 2021 Panini National Treasures Football 1st Off The Line FOTL Hobby Box, in addition.

What’s the Difference with FOTL?

So, what’s the difference between a regular release and an FOTL release? Let’s go back to the previous example. The regular 2021 Panini National Treasures Football Hobby Box release includes:

  • 3 Autographs Per Box
  • 3 Memorabilia Cards Per Box
  • Look for EXTRA Autograph and Memorabilia Cards!
  • Find Rookie Patch Autographs

(There have been 19 sales over the last 365 days, averaging $2.51K.)

On the other hand, the 2021 Panini National Treasures Football 1st Off The Line FOTL Hobby Box includes:

  • 3 Autographs Per Box
  • 3 Memorabilia Cards Per Box
  • Look for EXTRA Autograph and Memorabilia Cards
  • Find Rookie Patch Autographs

In addition, though, FOTL boxes come with 1 Stars and Stripes Rookie Patch Autograph and 1 Base Stars and Stripes card per box.

(There have been 4 sales over the last 365 days, averaging $3.01K.)

Again, this is just one small example that is provided to give you an idea of the differences between FOTL and comparable products.

Here are the most popular (based on # sold) FOTL football hobby boxes over the last 90 days:

And here is the same look, but for basketball:

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