Major news hit the Trading Card world earlier this week – Topps lost it’s MLB license to Fanatics! Topps has been the namesake of trading cards for decades but all of that will change in 2023. Fanatics is sporting a deal that’s worth 10x more than what’s ever been struck. All power to the ball players on earning a good living, but with the increase in payment to the players comes an increase in the cost and ultimately an increase in prices to the fans.
I’m not of fan of exclusive licensing deals, even though they’ve been around long before I re-entered that hobby in 2015. When I buy a pack of cards, I want the images to capture everything about the game – the player, the uniform, the logo, and the team name. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the card will be bland. I really like the Diamond Kings put out by Panini – with the watercolor portraits of the players. Mix that with relics and autographs, and you can get a really nice card.
A failing in the industry, I think is how speculative it’s become. Too many parallels, so many sticker autographs, too much variety. It will be interesting to see what type of product Fanatics puts out. I’m hoping for a high quality product that’s also affordable to the everyday collector. I’d like to also see how Topps responds with their product lines. Will they reduce the parallels? Will they focus on high quality inserts? They’ll need to rely more heavily on photography, such as those beautiful images captured in Stadium Club, as well has eye-appealing graphics that doesn’t take away from the sport as well.
As for now, I’ll still continue buying cards, even when there is a shake-up in the industry. There are so many sets that I do not have, and if I don’t like what comes out in the upcoming years, I can always enjoying completing my sets from years past.
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