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Leaf, ITG apparently not invited to the Industry Summit

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

With the Industry Summit less than a month away, it seems two vendors from last year’s meet up will not be in attendance.

Leaf Trading Cards and In The Game Inc., will not have booths set up.

Leaf filed a lawsuit against the Summit and organizer Kevin Isaacson where court documents show that Leaf applied to go to the Summit, but was declined even after giving one of the major addresses at last year’s event. Leaf is suing Isaacson along with up to 10 John Does for forcing Isaacson to exclude Leaf from the Industry Summit.

View the original court papers. The lawsuit has since moved to federal court.

In The Game stated in an open letter on its website that it has not heard from Isaacson since early January, and is now assuming it no longer invited as well and currently has no plans to attend.

The Industry Summit is a gathering of trading card companies, collectible vendors and other companies within the trading card marketplace. Dealers from across North America attend to listen to speakers, learn about upcoming products, communicate with other dealers and get swag.

“The Industry Summit gives us a chance to interact with customers, distributors and other manufacturers, this is invaluable to us,” ITG President Brian Price told Beckett Media.

Kevin Isaacson declined to comment.

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor at Beckett Media. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook and Twitter.

31 Comments

RJCJ2017

I am not surprised … to me, Leaf is the shadiest company of them all. I mean, I have always disagreed with them including other companies’ cards in their “Best Of” products, as well as their shady Kevin Durant Topps Chrome rookie autos, but actually putting out a product of other companies’ sealed boxes is the shadiest move of them all. I agree with the Summit 100 percent on this.

Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
CJ

Then explain why Southbay and their superboxes are going, RJCJ? And what has ITG done to get the cold shoulder? Isaacson seems like nobody I’d want to deal with. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some deal worked out under the table to keep Leaf and ITG blocked from coming. Luckily, I see Beckett is sending a bunch of their journalists to the summit so I’m sure they will dig in and find the answers to Summitgate.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink
Mike Bodner

“The Industry Summit is a gathering of trading card companies, collectible vendors and other companies within the trading card marketplace. ”

So it’s more like a “some of the Industry Summit”. I don’t buy products from either company, but this is a disservice to the Industry. I would like to hear organizer Kevin Isaacson hobby resume and what he does for the hobby other than make some money off of this event.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink
JayKayZee

I would be interested to hear the logic / reasoning behind this. I see the attending list includes :

– Press Pass, who has zero license for any product, but continues to produce products with blank helmets and workout gear.

– TriStar – who, like Leaf, simply repackages other companies auto’d cards (albeit with the autos cut off the cards, and just the auto trapped in their “cards”) and also has zero license for the cards they produce.

– Onyx Authenticated – Who outside of their auto’d and game worn merchandise products, also makes a card product that is in no way licensed or authorized by any existing baseball authority.

– Heroes of Sport – ALSO a company who ONLY repackages other companies cards and redeems items authenticated by other companies.

– Benchwarmers – Do I have to say it?? What do these pervs do except objectify women?

Meanwhile Leaf actually has multiple entertainment licenses including Muhammad Ali and the new Vampire Academy movie cards. (Hey, I’m not a fan of their stuff either, but I don’t see how they are somehow less than the above companies).

In The Game has been a well known company in this business since before most, if not all the companies above have been in existence. They have an agreement with minor leagues, often showcase international prospects before the other guys have ever heard of the players, as well as personal contracts with multiple retired greats of hockey.

Again, my comment isn’t to argue FOR their inclusions (although I don’t see why they AREN’T there), it’s more a question why is one company in, and another out.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink
Mike

I call it “thinking outside the box”, being creative and bringing new ideas to the hobby.

If past companies didn’t do this, the hobby would still be only base cards printed on crummy paper with no foil, gloss or quality.

But we all know topps isn’t shady. No no way.

I mean, just because they don’t honor their redemptions, send completely insulting low valued redemption replacements, make redemptions of players who don’t have contracts with, and try to pass off benches as game used.

Oh almost forgot. Their “customer service” (notice the quotes) and hold time are amazingly embarrassing and frustrating.

No, not shady in the least bit.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink
David Wicker

Shady is quite a strong word when looking at the capitalistic marketplace. He sees a venue to make money, he does so. Brian Grey spends money on all his product, whether it be his or some other companies product. As far as “The Summitt” goes, this is a place for the card companies to get together and give away items that regular collectors never see…just so they will later in the year purchase more of their product. It is just a trade show full of snake oil salesmen getting their next victims lined up…also if Leaf can’t be there, why would Benchwarmers, which objectifies women be there? Seems a little “shady” on “the summit’s” behalf…

Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

Just for the record, Kevin has still never returned our telephone calls or email to tell us we are not invited and why we are not.

He just continues to ignore us.

A couple of comments above have hit the nail on the head.

It’s not the collectors, shops or distributors that don’t want us there. Seems like it is the other manufacturers and licensors.

Well I wish them luck with their show and I hope the truth about what went on come to light one day.

Dr. Brian H. Price
President
In The Game, Inc.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink
CashforGold

i think it’s about quality products and brian price products are the cheapest, most generic looking cards ever released – famous fabrics as an example. plus all of the fake memorabilia and cut signatures they use in their products probably has something to do with their snub

as for leaf, repackaging other companies products and selling them is pretty shady and just stupid.

both companies are irrelevant in the hobby. their products sell to a very small market. brian grey’s lawsuit will be laughed at. it’s kinda like the fat ugly high school girl who doesn’t get invited to the prom so she sues the school

Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink
Mark

JayKayZee,

So Press Pass has “zero license for any product?” Ever hear of this little thing called NASCAR? Little organization whose champion is on the latest cover of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. You think those NASCAR and corporate logos appear via magic?

Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink
G G

It is so wrong for ITG and Leaf to be treated like this. The only thing they should be accused of is being so Innovative!!! With ITG their Hockey products are great like Ultimate Memorabilia, the other companies give you overpriced high end products with too many common rookies. Leaf puts out products like baseball with 5 to eight rookies a box with each card in it’s own top loader. And usually there is at least a big name in a box and the price is good. I see where Bowman Chrome is adding a second auto this year.HHMMMM -wonder why? With reguard to redemptions ,have only had two from Leaf and amazingly I received each card in only about 2 weeks. Still waiting on Topps , and just received Panini Contenders from a year ago. Can’t wait to see what Leaf does with it’s tennis license. Bottom line: The other companies are jealous of Leaf and ITG for thinking outside the box and being so innovative.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
Leaf carries benchwarmers

For those ripping on Benchwarmers, Mr. Gray carried Benchwarmers.

I also heard that Leaf PAID to be a speaker last year. Basically, it’s a PAID commercial.

Moral of the story is this: If you try to annoy your competition and talk trash about them, suck it up when they have opportunity for payback.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
Leaf carries benchwarmers

Innovative?
Leaf repackages Topps’ cards.
Leaf’s Metal basically is Topps Chrome.
Leaf’s PURE GLASS cards are a version of 1990s inserts by other companies.
Heck, even Leaf’s owner had to take over another company’s name!!!

Being good at honoring redemptions isn’t innovating. It’s good practice and other companies should get their heads’ out of their rears regarding this matter but again, it’s not innovating.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

Repacks of other companies cards has been a staple of the hobby for 30+ years. I’m curious as to why it is somehow “shady” when Leaf does it. Does that make any sale of another company’s product on the secondary market “shady”? Because it’s really the same thing. Selling cards you did not produce is “shady”, so says this guy who keeps posting to all the sites, under a variety of different names, who has a serious obsession with Brian Gray.

I’m curious how the summit is even relevant anymore. Companies don’t need an expensive venue in a casino to broadcast their intentions and new products. The Internet thing is plenty good for that.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
Mike

A couple of things 

First off, I’m not a topps hater as I think they make good quality football and non sports  products. I just totally dislike most of their baseball stuff 

Anyway, here’s a couple of FACTS about topps, tell me it ain’t shady.

Topps issued redemptions in 2011 bowman platinum for Matt Harvey autos and they weren’t produced until mid season LAST YEAR.

Know why? Because topps never had a contract with him! So they made thousands of redemptions with no intentions of fulfilling!

Several years ago, they made cards which appeared to feature game used bats of legends in the mold of Ruth, Gehrig, etc.

Guess what? Some of the cards featured GREEN WOOD pieces! Only when topps was confronted with the evidence did they “admit” they were pieces of a bench.

Want more? 

How about last year when they had the nerve to replace a Jimi Hendrix relic card (several hundred dollars) with a Dwight gooden auto?

Or, again, last year in heritage, they had.redemptions (every 47000 packs!) For a vintage buy back stamp.

Every previous year, these stamps were encased in a border and numbered. 

So what did they do in 2013? Send beat to crap, completely off centered and ripped commons in a plain top loader. Those redemptions weren’t cheap.

I could go on.

My point is that I’m completely sick and tired of the way topps handles their baseball card license. I’m sick and tired of how they consistently push away collectors….fyi forty percent of their 2013 products had an Srp of $50 or more per PACK!!!!!! How do these crazy prices bring new collectors in?

And to think “bringing in New collectors” was a main goal of topps (or so they said) when they got their exclusive license.

Lastly, topps copied “chrome” from wild card, a football card company from the early 90s who made chrome cards three years prior to topps chrome.

Sent from my Sprint phone.

Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
JayKayZee

Mark –
I did forget NASCAR. Sad, considering I’ve bought a good amount of it. I admit I missed that. No need for hostilities. Still doesn’t make them better than the others being excluded.

On another note – I will never understand the shallow minds who seem to trust any other company over ITG. Topps will not guarantee ANYTHING about their products, UD fills their products with “Player Worn” items -aka- we had the player touch this and now it’s in our cards, and Panini seems to follow suit with items of retired players that appear right off the rack.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink
Slim

Maybe BG was not invited back due to slagging nearly every person who attended the summit last year during his “speech”. By the way he PAID to speak so its not as if he was asked to speak he had to PAY to talk. Then he goes off on nearly every other company who paid to be there. Why the hell should his shady rear be invited back? Its good to see them standing up to bullies who talk with their wallets. Anyone with any sort of hobby knowledge knows they are clowns, clowns that will soon fade away.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink
Zach Brize

Leaf and ITG suck. Who cares?

They produce the worst garbage out there.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
Zach Brize

Leaf and ITG are hilarious, like they are going to start some kind of unlicensed revolution. Run to the streets. Gather the collectors. lol

Good riddance, let me know when the revolution begins.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
Phillips McMasherwilliams

It all comes down to money. You people are naive if you dont think UD or another of the big three paid to have Leaf removed from the show. I am sure there will be a big announcement at The Summit that clearly someone didnt want Brian Price or Brian Gray to rain on. Brian Gray gave a speech last year that if you listen to with ears open and mouths shut, you would understand it wasn’t bashing every company but merely calling them out for exactly what everyone calls them out for on a daily basis. The Summit was basically purchased by one or two of the big three and one of the key sports licensing entities to keep out those with different and loud points of view…..that differ from their agenda. Leaf a bully? In The Game irrelevant? hardly, if so then this wouldn’t be happening. The relevance of both companies scared someone enough to cause this.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

I have a very hard time understanding how ANY card producing company can be excluded. Is it not the collectors who buy the stuff who decide what is or isn’t worthy ? To discriminate against any card company is wrong as they all have rights. Should we be worried that admission to the Summit will be limited to collectors who buy certain card companies stuff ?
As for the In The Game comments I have long been a believer in this company. While they do not have an NHL license they produce some of the nicest memorabilia cards of players from the past. Why do you think the big guys are putting these players in their products now ? ITG is an innovator and their products constantly outsell the UD and Panini stuff in our store for a reason. ITG values the collector and the collecting dollar whereas the others don’t care about peddling their stuff and the obseen prices for lack lustre product (look at 12-13 UD and 13-14 Score Beckett prices).
I have been in this hobby for over thirty-five years and slagging and insulting each others card companies has long been a common practice and pilfering employees and ideas still goes on. Instead of worrying about how much money you make why don’t you think about the collectors out there for a refreshing change.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
charles H

ITG got caught up in this,so it looks like they weren’t singling out Leaf.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

I don’t know why you all hate these companys, I guess you have your reason’s
but what I do know is that I am getting tired of redemption I have 20 Panini redemption 8 are over a year, one is over 2 years in a month 2 more will hit the year mark, I here a lot say I don’t mind having to wait, or some other suck up reason. I call and write, but nothing. They ask what do you collect as a replacement, months pass and nothing. Topps same, I have a mem redemption I have been waiting for a year. a mem card same I wait and wait and nothing. Wow I have no Leaf or press pass redemption> So I sit here and wait, last year they all said they were going to work hard to have less redemption, I have seen the same or more, I have seen a 2 redemption in a 3 hit box, and they were not mem redemptions, come on stop blowing smoke up are backsides. this kind of BS is part of the cause for the fake jersey crap they got, supply and demand cause’s some of the mem- auto cards having bs swatches, funny never heard anything else about that, just kind of sweep that under the rug.

Posted February 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
mortuus

Leaf i could care less about, but ITG? they are probably the best brand in the market, uses only authentic GU stuff, their HOF and vintage stuff nobody comes even close to, sure the design maybe is not the best but they atleast produce stuff that collectors want and even listens to many of collectors what they want in future products, do you feel UD or Panini does this? no way….

so yeah hes a coward for not even respond shows wha a jerk he really is…

and @CashforGold you must be the biggest idiot ever, i have yet to seen any complain that ITG uses fake GU, they aquire stuff that no other company can or has really, fake stuff is what UD is good at and their lame photoshoot jersery etc..

Posted February 22, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink
MYaaj

ITG is the ONLY company ..”Dr.Brian Price ” to have personally took time to talk to me shook my hand.
Other companies other then itg not even a thanks of support!!

Also I have had cancelled and outstanding redemptions by other company
I have had a redemption (a free redemption program) that Dr. Brian Price personally called someone to bring it to me when at an expo!!

This company and staff is hands down one of a kind for innovation and customer service..
I have always felt that companies should thank us all the time for supporting them, but everytime I open a ITG product in my heart I end up thanking them.

MyAJay

Posted February 22, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
brian gray

I will say the below:

1. we had a legal contract with the Summit which they have breached.. contract law 101… he will lose.

2. I believe he was bullied by manufacturers and licensors to keep us out. If true, this is a federal crime with severe monetary damage potentially attached

3. I would say that any monkey can post on a message board anonymously. I am not so sure that some of the above “bashers” are not employees of the very same companies that we believe perpetrated these actions in our lawsuit.

4. Yes, I paid for our speech last year. So did Topps, Panini, Upper Deck and others. That is how it works. With that being said, I spent my money in part to defend the defenseless. To bring up the issues you care about (or should care about). I voiced what many were scared to say for fear of retribution. Frankly, I didn’t have this fear as I was as shocked as the next guy that free speech apparently ended in 2012. After all, it was Rob Veres (of Burbank Sports) along with Kevin Isaacson who challenged us all to make the summit a place to address serious issues and interact, not just collect freebies… I guess this was more idle hobby chatter.

With all this being said, we will NOT be at the summit. I will say that I can look in the mirror and see a man that stands up for what he believes. I cannot be bought or bullied by anyone. As you will see soon, I will fight the biggest licensors or competitors with no fear. I have the war chest to go toe to toe with anyone.

I will say I am appalled that ITG is not being shown the respect of even a return phone call. It is making the summit look worse that I ever thought it could.

I do not believe this is any longer an industry summit. It is now a dealer event sponsored by a small group for the soul purpose of passing out the Kool Aid (AKA freebies to buy silence from dealers).

To all in attendance. Enjoy Las Vegas, at least you will be in a fun town. Take the freebies from the companies.
But whatever you do….. DO NOT let them think these freebies will hush you like a puppy at the table begging for scraps. YOU ARE NOT FOR SALE SO CHEAPLY. Value your business and make sure all in the industry appreciate you and do whatever they can to EARN your business.

Brian Gray

Posted February 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
joe

Look people we all have our likes and dislikes for every dang company out there! This article is about ITG and LEAF not being at the summit. To me there is for sure a hint of shadiness behind this. It would be like saying the world is having a world summit and the Europe and Canada werent invited! ITG and LEAF are in the buisness and should be at the summit bottom line regardless of how they are portrayed until they no longer make boxes of the stuff we crave. BTW I absolutely hate both of the companies so I am not a supporter in that way. Also did you all not see the ITG Pres. wrote a comment above!

Posted February 24, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
Richard

1) Repackaging LICENSED material is perfectly legitimate. Buy-backs have a long history in our hobby.
If you got a counterfeit or unlicensed card displaying logos it should not, that would be a different issue.

2) I too have issues with redemption cards for the previously stated reasons.
If you don’t have a contract, don’t issue the redemption cards. If you can’t fulfill in a timely fashion, or
at all, give some real specific choices. Yes, you may have to give up something that cost you more than
you would have liked, but its on you that you could not fulfill your promises. If you promise me Tiger
Woods you don’t get send me Icky Woods and say its close enough. :-)

3) I have stopped buying all newer “material” cards explicitly because they will not give a real guarantee.
The statement that a company guarantees the material, but says nothing about the material, makes that
guarantee meaningless. You are supposed to assume that because player X is on the card that the material
is associated directly with the player, but no where do they back it up. The best COA I ever saw were the
cards that actually pictured the item it came from, in some cases even being specific as to the actual
game/season worn.

4) I generally like Leaf I think the patch autos they made for Pujols, Ichiro, Patrick Ewing, etc. are cool. They are hand signed and they actually post pics of every one online to prevent people swapping them out. That said, their COA on the Jersey could be a bit more specific to directly state that it was worn by the player in a game.

5) I like leaf draft and the fact they announced production numbers this year. I’d really like them to announce the previous years too. It’s fine to drop hints and the like, but eventually we need to have that information
like we do with Press Pass Red Inks autos and Playoff Contenders.

6) ITG redemption programs have always rocked. Collecting the cards and getting an actual game used item from the likes of Mario Lemieux? Nice. Or a cute auto or Lord Stanley? That’s nuts.

I’m guessing that some of the big boys were a bit upset. Leaf Draft was getting 1st round picks before Topps, and likely causing Topps to have to pay more money to get the signatures rather than just buying them a meal or two as once was the case. It’s why we got that stupid rookie card logo in Baseball, because Upper Deck knew that without rookies it had junk, so they needed to have an “official rookie card” blessed by MLB in order to maintain some market interest. Sadly, Beckett went along with it, but I guess they really had no choice if they wanted to stay friendly with MLB and their main advertisers.

If Leaf had a contract, then show will pay a penalty for breaking the contract.
If a card company pressured the show to not allow Leaf or ITG, then it might cost them big time,

Posted February 25, 2014 at 1:51 am | Permalink
Leaf carries benchwarmers

Yo Mike,
You might have some decent points BUT you lost me when you attempt to diss on Topps and say they charge too much for packs and question how those high prices are bringing in new, young customers.
Topps isn’t charging $650-800 for Ichiro boxes or triple digits per box for repacked best of products.

Topps has many affordable products that my children can purchase at the LCS or Target. Plus their products have base cards so that my kids and I can put sets together and appreciate that side of the hobby.

I never attended the Summit but wonder how crucial it is. I know some dealers who attend remind us of the costs they sacrifice to attend it. However, I wonder how many use it as an excuse to hit Sin City, lose their shirts at the roulette table, then somehow find a reason to use the Summit as a scapegoat to their loved ones over missing funds.

Posted February 25, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink
Richard

Topps has issues. Notably what happened with the e-topps program for starters.
Remember the holograms on the back with the numbers for the autographs and 1/1 cards?
Well they might mean something if they had actually recorded what they put them on and made
the information available. Perhaps that’s why they stopped. For all of Upper Deck’s failings, at
least they actually tracked the numbers they put on things.

Posted February 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
Brandon

IMO ITG has been producing the greatest hockey sets in the industry for years. It is just astonishing that they would not be invited to the summit. The way that organizer Kevin Isaacson dealt with this situation is just plain childish. It would be nice if he would address the reasoning behind this, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
Mike

“This is redirecting the entire category toward kids,” said Eisner,

Those words came right from Michael eisner’s lips when the exclusive was announced. Was, supposedly, a main reason why baseball went exclusive.

Obviously a bunch of BS otherwise forty percent of their products wouldn’t have Srp’s of FIFTY – FIVE HUNDRED BUCKS PER PACK……PACK!!!!!

Leaf has never claimed to be in it to bring kids back, that’s blatant obvious, look at their products.

Leaf ichiro immortals cost $550 direct and now sell for.about $850.

That’s the hobby driving up the price because it’s pure quality.

On the other hand, topps five star, their $500 product sells for $350 because of the glut of low quality

Posted February 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

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