Things we don't understand about the Topps/Upper Deck news...

...as it appeared today in the New York Times.

1) "The league also believes that one cardmaker can end the confusion of competitors selling multiple card series in hobby shops and big-box stores." What confusion?

2) "While the union [Major League Baseball Players Association] license gives Upper Deck the right to use player likenesses, it will no longer have the rights to team logos and trademarks." So what? The players rarely stay in the same uniform for very long these days anyhow. UD needs to GET CREATIVE.

3) The executive vice president for business at Major League Baseball said, “It’s a business that’s critically important to our mission, to make players icons to kids.” Does anyone believe this? As a mom of a true baseball card fan, I can't but help it's true. PS The players themselves have to behave in such a way that they can in fact become "icons."

4) "Since Eisner’s privately held Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn, a private equity company, acquired Topps, it has introduced 3-D cards, the ToppsTown trading and collecting Web site, and the Topps Attax game to appeal to young card enthusiasts and to develop new ones..." And have any of these introductions helped "make players icons to kids?"

5) "“We’re going to be very aggressive in letting retailers, kids and hobbyists know that we are the card that represents it all.” These words were spoken by Michael Eisner. When he says Topps "represents it all," does he have any historical depth of knowledge? Does he know who Sy Berger is?

And what MLB logo-laden Upper Deck product will you be saddest to lose?


night owl said...

Upper Deck REALLY needs to get creative for me to buy cards without team logos and trademarks. Current players are just part of the reason why I follow major league baseball. A very big part, but not the whole part. Yes, as Seinfeld said, I'm rooting for laundry (or in this case spending money on laundry), but it's a lot more complicated than that.

The "we have to attract the kids" stuff is all very noble and nice-sounding, but Topps comes off as pandering in its "kid-oriented" efforts.

What UD products will I miss? Well, I know everyone will say "Masterpieces," but for me it'll be Timeline. Maybe OPC.

madding said...

1. This line makes it sound like Topps will only produce one base set and that it will limit where you can purchase said set. I'm sure that's not true, of course. (I hope not!)

2. Ugh, I won't buy unlicensed stuff. It will certainly be interesting to see how UD handles this. It was they that seemed to be the purists (the anti-Topps) about not doctoring card photos.

3. I am in total agreement here. Kids have to somehow become more interested in baseball before they will be interested in buying baseball cards.

4. Wait, what? 3-D? Web site? "Attax"? I thought they were "end[ing] the confusion".

5. Oh, I see it. Synergy. When you buy a TOPPS card you are simultaneously buying 3-D virtual player website game who may Attax at will.

I will be saddest to lose the base set, not really because I've been enamored with any of their base sets recently but because there won't be any other base sets around besides the Topps. Maybe they'll bring back Topps Total?

Kevin said...

I heartily concur with your points. All of Topps' corporate-speak about "confusion" and making the cards accessible to kids stinks to high heaven. I'd love to see them put their money where their mouth is and go back to 15-card packs of the base product for a dollar.

Also, if we're supposed to believe that having to choose between Topps and UD products is "confusing", then how would it be any less confusing to walk into a store and see Attax, Allen and Ginter, Heritage, Topps original flavor, Bowman, etc.?

Re #5, I do believe that Eisner knows his history. He was a kid at some point, and claims to have collected. For who-knows-what-reason, I buy that. That doesn't mean that he's not thinking with his wallet, of course.

Matt F. said...

I'll only miss Upper Deck X [if they stop making it], the product hated by everyone else but that I really enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Upper Deck X?, R we talking about Baseball Cards here. What they all ready used the first 23 letters in the alphabet on sets. Why would any one hate a 2008 Upper Deck X Xponential Card of Chien Ming Wang. Must be all the math majors - BATEMAN72