UD Loses FB Liscense

Upper Deck has lost the Football License for 2010.  This is huge, as I’m sure you are all aware.  In my opinion, this really hurts the football market.  There were several products every year that I really looked forward to.  I don’t think Panini or whoever else might also have a license (Topps? Press Pass? someone new?) can fill that void.  SPx, SP Authentic, Ultimate Collection and Exquisite Collection are four products that everyone looks forward to each and every year.  With all due respect to National Treasures, Leaf Limited and any others, they don’t touch these products.

The designs, the on-card autos, the nice patch cards.  All of these things make products like Exquisite, SP Authentic and Ultimate Collection much better than anything else on the market.  I just don’t see any possible replacements for these types of products right now.  Maybe Panini will surprise me and make something awesome.  However, I think there will be a serious void in the high end section if they don’t.

The NFL must be very confident in Panini and whoever else gets a license.  I feel confident in saying that if you asked the average FB card collector what their favorite products were, UD’s would be at or near the top.  Certainly single cards show this as SP Authentic and Exquisite always carry the most value for RCs.  And Ultimate has some of the highest Legend type of single card sales.  On top of all of that, I feel like UD is more innovative.  They do tons of inscriptions.  They do tons of super patch cards.  They do a lot more multi-signed cards.  They definitely stand alone in terms of on-card autographs.  If Panini wants to really be successful, they should take these ideas and run with them.  Sure, they could keep doing their products the same as always.  I’m sure they’d probably sell fairly well since there won’t be as much competition.  However, they could really grab the bull by its horns and make some awesome stuff.

The sad thing is that the end consumer is ultimately who gets screwed.  With a lack of competition, we’ll probably see inferior products.  This is not a knock against Panini.  This is simply economics.  And because there are less products, they will probably all sell fairly well.  Meaning the demand won’t force the companies to load any products or improve them.  Single card sales will ultimately tumble and every product will be a loss for the box/case breaker.  Not to harp on Panini, but we’ve seen this in some of the Basketball this year.  Products like Panini Limited, Panini Certified and Panini Threads have all sold well for me and for most.  However, they are nearly impossible to get your money back out of when you open them.  I would challenge anyone to find a lot of super high end Panini cards that sold well.  I just looked on eBay real quickly and only found 9 Panini Autograph cards form 2009-10 basketball that sold for over $200.  UD only made 4 products for 09-10 BK and there are over 20 cards that sold for over $200.  I think this is a direct result of not having designs that match UD and not having on-card autographs.

Look, I’m not saying UD was without fault.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  They had WAY too many redemption cards.  They had collation issues.  Their customer service can be laughable at times.  Panini has these things already going for them.  Why not push it over the top and make the products superior as well?

Anyway, it will certainly be interesting to see how this re-shapes the Football market.  Please feel free to leave comments about how you feel.



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