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Players’ use of social media at NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere might change things for the hobby

Mark Ingram shows off his jerseys at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere.

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor | Commentary

In the days of instant gratification, the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere autograph and photo shoot weekend is a must as collectors demand to see the players in their uniforms on their Rookie Cards as soon as possible.

But the players’ use of social media — even in the days of uncertain labor strife where it can make a positive connection with fans — might make some higher-ups cringe.

And it’s not really the advanced card collectors who might react badly — many know what goes on with event-used memorabilia at events like this — but the card companies and the league might not like seeing the future New Orleans Saints running back and former Heisman winner wearing enough jerseys to make him look like he’s doubled (or more) in size on the chicken dinner circuit as he wears countless jerseys all at one time all in the name of event-used memorabilia.

“Haha I’m at the #rookiepremiere and I have on like 17 Saint[s] jerseys,” wrote Ingram as he Tweeted the photo to his 45,976 followers. He later added a side view showing his girth below the jerseys to be used as a heavy component in all card products — high-end and low-end — this coming season.

An image like the one of Ingram destroys the perception of scarcity for even the rarest of rare patch cards to be found from jerseys such as these — something that the card companies probably don’t like. Yet, at the same time, not much will quash demand for the key cards of rookies as this has been done for years, though with less publicity.

Sure, there will can only one 1/1 logo shield made from each jersey. But how many jerseys can a guy wear at once? How many times will a wearing like this take place for each of the card companies — Topps and Panini America that are there?

The same could be said for the large volume of autographs signed during the weekend, but, like the jerseys, they are spread out throughout the season so that helps soothe the burn when one might realize that there are a lot of other cards out there just like theirs. (Oh, and i’s also worth noting that Ingram hasn’t been assigned a uniform number … so the No. 80 jerseys will likely bug a few detail-minded collectors.)

Before Twitter photos, all we got was a studio photograph of a few pieces of equipment on the backs of some Donruss cards — a move that vanished over time. Otherwise, one would never know what it’s really like in the sausage factory of event-used memorabilia cards.

But, then again, there’s an immense dollar savings by going the event-worn route vs. game-used. The cost of an Ingram game-used jersey during his rookie season — even if not Rookie of the Year caliber — would likely top the entire stack of jerseys he’s wearing … plus some. While that would mean rarer — and likely more valuable — cards several months from now (if there’s a season), there would have to be something else put into packs to satisfy the demands of collectors. (Oh, and autographs aren’t a cheaper option.)

So, the alternative doesn’t help that whole instant gratification issue …

Again, this is nothing new, but it’s the kind of stuff that, while never shown before, was described in detail by one national writer in the past who was reportedly permanently uninvited to ever cover the event again despite working for a major news outlet. That kind of guarded atmosphere is one I perfectly understand from their perspective — the NFL and its licensees don’t want to damage the brand or its image — but a ban also seems to be a bit much. However, it’s going to be a lot harder to protect that image going forward with such unparalleled access coming straight from the players themselves.

On Saturday, Mark Ingram and the 35 other top prospects will suit up in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in full uniforms to have their photos taken in various poses and stations for many — if not all — of the football cards you will find in packs this year. The uniforms from the not-open-to-the-public event probably won’t hit the chopping block but their photos will appear right alongside the swatches from the jerseys that Ingram and others are wearing in bulk in the days before then.

So, while the NFL needs its players to connect with their fans more than ever before, the influence of social media will be a positive.

Yet, at the same time, there will be drawbacks, too. In other words, you really don’t want to see how your sausage gets made.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

(It’s also worth noting that Ingram hasn’t been assigned a uniform number … so the No. 80 jerseys will likely bug a few detail-minded collectors.)

6 Comments

CardSpin

Collectors need to treat event-worn relics the same way they do manufacutred patches. While they add an element to the design of the card, the relics themselves hold zero “real” value.

I’ve been saying this for years so I’m glad the more rube-ish collectors (and bloggers *coughSCUcough*) are finally seeing proof of what happens at these events.

Posted May 19, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink
Richard

Not a big deal. I always figured that many players switched jerseys every time they left the field. At least there is an attempt to have some kind of tenuous connection to the player rather than just outright lie to us.

Posted May 19, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink
Shaun Esfandiary

Even though I still buy jersey cards once in a while, they are a dime a dozen and I am getting very tired of them. Them, and sticker autos or autos of players with horrible looking sigs. Whatever happened to the good old days of rookies and inserts being the top catch? I know, I know, I sound old, but I am not – 32. These days, I prefer higher end product cards that are jersey or auto free, like Exquisite base cards etc. Still love collecting, but just wanted to vent. Shaun

Posted May 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

can i get one of the signed footballs?

From mod: Apparently they sign a lot of items that are used in charity auctions as well as other company or league functions during the event.

Posted May 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
Dave

It just goes to show that the event-worn means absolutely nothing. Thanks Mark Ingram for actually showing collectors how we are getting ripped off by card companies. Maybe this will open the eyes of those who think they hold some special piece of a players jersey……NEWSFLASH>>>>>>>Your cards aren’t special and niether are you!!!!!!!!!!

Posted May 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
Tom Waldron

Ha ha ha this really is just a funny picture and it is a great insight but these semi-pros deserve it. Who wouldn’t want to be there and just be a fly on the wall and see how many sheet these guys sign No wonder why the auto’s are not always great.
We all know that a Player event worn is just that. I have always said the second year is ‘TRUE player worn jerseys” Now can I say I would turn down a Patch jersey auto of the top NUmero uno player from the draft Probly not but that is just what the Card companies are counting on.
So nothing new here and I bet these cards will be sold same as always. In this case it comes down to the collectors and that is a market that all card companies can count on.

Posted May 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

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