There has been lots of talk of all the exclusivity of sport cards and sports card companies. In the latest issue of Tuff Stuff there is a nice little article Titled: The Times the are A Changing: Sorting Out the New-Look Hobby Landscape. The article is all about what the exclusive deals between card companies and pro sport organization mean for the companies, the collectors and even the hobby store owners. There's even a nice little quote from the blogosphere own Ryan Cracknell from Trader's Crack. Which in another side note had nothing to do with my naming of this blog, as I didn't even know the site existed when I started it. I actually was going to call this blog Cardboard Crack, which is still open if anyone wants it, but up here in Alaska cardboard crack is slang for Pulltab or Rippies. The only legalized gambling up here.
Now i'm really off topic.
So the whole point is and I hope you are all still with me here. What does exclusivity mean.
First I want to know what multi-year deal means exactly!! Is it 2 years 3, 4, 10 what how long till I get to put a Topps football set together again? I haven't seen this fact posted anywhere, especially by the companies that claim it.
Now some people rail that this is good, that less product out there will be good. Who are these people? Mainly the companies who complain that there is too much choice on the selves. Tuff Stuff has been running a multi-part series where they interview the top execs from all three major card companies and the one thing I remember from reading all the interviews is they all bitched about shelf space. Ryan points out that the lack of competion tends to be a bad thing and that with good compitition you are always trying to one up the other guy and that it spurs innovation. And other claim that with companies only have one or two licenses they can concentrate on that sport and ultimately put out the best product.
Now with that said I have some more questions. How are these companies going to survive with only one license? Well I figure they are going to have to put out lots of product. Could this be another overproduction scenerio like in the 90's?
Did the license agreement limit the number of sets a company can produce? I don't know. I'd love some feedback here from people that do. If not I think that Topps, Upper Deck, and Panini might only ending up competiting with themselves on the shelves. Is that going to be a good thing? Probably not. Lets face it.
Card collectors come in lots of varities, from set builders, to player collectors, to collecting only one sport or multisport and some are even company specific. So what does that mean for companies?
Well it means that they might be lossing some collectors. People that would be buying there football product might not be buying there baseball or hockey product. It means player collectors are going to have fewer sets to get there favorite players from.
However I do see some bright spots. Focusing on only one sport will allow that company to product a wide array of priced sets, boxes and packs for all price range collectors. It will allow the companies to put out sets for set builders and sets for player collectors.
For someone who's both a set builder and player collector its a little bit of bittersweet.
Ultimately only time will tell how this experiement works out. And lets now forget that all these companies will probably be putting out sets they don't have licenses in. All the license allow the company to do is use logos. Might we see a bunch or airbrushed set like the old food issues from the 70's and 80's? I'd love to hear what everybody thinks. Especially with these agreement starting to take effect.
Until next time.