Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Exclusively Yours, The Leagues

Last week, Twitter was a buzz over rumors that Topps will soon be losing their NFL license to a possible Panini exclusive. This would be the final big sport to no longer have more than one manufacturer making their cards. This news took many collectors by surprise also leaving many breathless. I know it did to me. I couldn't imagine a football card season without my beloved Topps Chrome that I have collected since 1996.

So before I go on my rant again about exclusive licenses, I wanted to clear the air. I am a big fan of Panini, their products and all of the fun promotions they run. My rant is not about them, its about license exclusives and how bad those are for the hobby. Now, I will rant.

As us collectors can already tell, exclusives are not the best thing for the hobby. We already know this from the other two (going on three maybe even four with the NFL) leagues cards, so if this NFL rumor turns out to be true, this could only damage the hobby to me even more. Show of hands, how many of us already complain about MLB and NBA cards? I know I can raise my hand to this and I see you raising yours as well. I have actually dulled down on collecting MLB and NBA cards since. I like variety and we all know variety is the spice of life, so what happens when there isn't variety? Our life goes tasteless? Does this hold true for the hobby when there is no longer any variety for any sport? Will the hobby go lose it's flavor?

Exclusives to me, are like eating the same kind of cereal everyday as your only option. Sure, Honey Nut Cheerios tastes great, but would you honestly want to eat it everyday of your life without ever being able to try another brand of cereal? I strongly doubt it. Exclusives are in place to take out the competition. Without competition it takes out creativity and competitive pricing. Without creativity we are forced to buy same ole same ole releases year in and year out offering the same designs, same product layout, same everything (as we can tell already from MLB and NBA).Without competitive pricing, we are forced to spend more than we want on stuff that may not give us back what we pay. Without the companies being forced to outdo one another, we are stuck with whatever they feel like releasing. It's not like we have the option to buy another companies MLB, NBA, NFL (still rumored) or NHL cards. We are stuck with that particular company. The only way out is if we give up collecting in general or buy older product. Obviously, not collecting is a big issue as we would lose our hobby and possibly push the future of the hobby in kids away, but buying older product is an issue as well because that causes problems such as expired redemptions and cards possibly sticking together from years of sitting around.

Having the possibility of all four major sports in exclusives is scary. I for one, miss pro products from Upper Deck a lot. I also miss Topps basketball, hockey and possibly now football. This is why the 90's were such a great time to collect. You got to enjoy all of these sports from every major manufacturer. Sure, people say the 90's were overproduced which drove down values, in someways if you think about it, isn't what's on the market today overproduced and driving down values? Because if you pick up a Beckett and compared values from now to 10, even 5 years ago, things have dropped immensely. However, look at the beautiful,creative, and sometimes valuable products that were put out in the 90's as opposed to today even with the so-called overproduction. The companies all had to compete against each other so we would buy their products because with every release they would put out their best to lure us in. This is why I think that the 90's were so popular in collecting and why I have gone back and bought some of those products recently. To me the hobby isn't about value, it's about fun. Isn't that what it should be?

Let's look back at some to the things we are missing in today's collecting that I got to enjoy at one point. Try not to drool on your keyboard:

RIP to all of these:


Soon we will lose this:

And then the rumored this:
Hopefully, what was being said on Twitter is just what I called it, a rumor. If this turns out to be true, this means that another league only cares about one thing, money and we all know that money talks. What I want to know however, is if these leagues care about their "brand", whatever happened to caring about their fans who support their "brands" and listening to what they want?

In closing, here is what I propose should happen to the hobby, I think the leagues need to give a license to all major manufacturers such as Upper Deck, Panini and Topps for the four major sports. To keep the cards valuable and not overproduced, limit the amount of products they are allowed per sport. Maybe something like 7 products per sport per manufacturer. I think if this was to happen, we would all be provided with variety, the best products these companies can put out as they would have competition, and most importantly, competitive pricing so that we all can afford to stay in the hobby we love.

No comments:

Post a Comment