Monday, March 18, 2013

Topps to Keep MLB Properties Exclusive Until 2020!!! Card Collectors Rejoice!!!

Forget the other news of the day (like the fact that the MLB Players Association has decided to allow that other card company to make baseball cards again). The biggest news to come out of the Las Vegas Industry Summit today was that MLB Properties announced that the Topps Company will remain the EXCLUSIVE LICENSEE for Major League Baseball until 2020!!!

That means, ladies and gentlemen, that the powers that run MLB Properties saw that Topps has done a fantastic job flying solo in the Baseball Card market that they extended the deal all the way through to the end of the decade (or 2020, whichever comes first). And I'm happy. (Meanwhile, at the headquarters of a certain card curmudgeon?  Not so much.)

Now, I'll be honest.  I have nothing against the other companies. Having a blog with the word Topps Baseball Cards on it may make it look like I have some kind of bias against them. I really don't.  Congrats to Upper Deck for getting your house in order again so that you can get back into the game with a license from the MLB Players' Association.  Competition is a good thing.  I'm certainly not naïve to think that just because Topps has the exclusive license doesn't mean that they're the only game in town.  Of course not.  For two years, Panini has held its own when it comes to producing quality cards.  Yes, they were able to find ways to work around the "no logos" thing.  And because they are not held to the restrictions placed by MLB Properties the way Topps is, Panini can include players like the All-Time Hits King (if they wanted to), and some guy who conspired to "fix a World Series" back in 1919.  They can even recognize them by name too. Bringing UD back into the fold will just give Topps a bit more motivation to come up with better ways to occupy our time in the Hobby.

Yes, it would be nice if we went back to the time when there were five companies vying for our attention and our pocketbooks.  When each company made ONE SET and if they chose an UPDATE SET.  But by 2001, there were more than 86 different products produced by four companies.  And even then, people complained that there was too much product.  When the economy wasn't all that bad. Now, apparently, one company making 17 "approved" products is too much???  Throw in Panini and (now) Upper Deck with their handful of goods (they really can't do too much without the logos...and THEY KNOW IT), and then you have companies like Leaf putting their two cents worth, and we can crank out cards just the good old days again.

Regardless of whoever has the exclusive, having the actual team logos prominently displayed on the cards and on the uniforms of the players just gives a hint of legitimacy to the 2½ x 3½ piece of cardboard in the packs.  I'm just glad that MLB decided to continue working with the company that has the history to continue to produce Major League Baseball cards.

Thanks MLB Properties.  Good choice in letting Topps keep the exclusive.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the comments on beckett's site when it announced this or the blog posts on this. I think the reaction has been the complete opposite of rejoicing.

Also, I don't know of anyone who has said they think the best thing is to go back to 4-5 companies 15-20 sets each. MLB owns their product, and it doesn't have to be a decision between 1 company / 20 products or 4 / 80. MLB could sell 3 licenses and limit those companies each to 5-6 products. Or maybe give Topps 12 products and let UD and Panini do 4 each. If you did that, each company would put their best foot forward for each product.

Don't get me wrong - if there is just one license, I'm glad it's Topps. It's just that there MLB has more options than "one license" or "pure chaos".