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Category Archives: Soccer

First look: 2011 SP Game-Used Soccer

By Andrew Tolentino | BSCM Editor

Upper Deck is taking its familiar SP Game-Used brand name to a different kind of football next month.

Yesterday the company leaked a few images and product information about its 2011 SP Game-Used Soccer line, which is scheduled for a November arrival. This comes as big news for fans whose card options are typically limited to the major manufacturer’s once-a-year release.

Living up to the brand legacy and the stated hit-heavy box breakdown, SP Game-Used is a GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL that soccer collectors have been waiting for.

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Blowout Cards’ parent company sues Upper Deck over distribution policy

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Blowout Cards‘ parent company, Frontline Collectibles Inc., counter-sued Upper Deck in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday, alleging that the Carlsbad, Calif.-based card company’s distribution policies introduced earlier this year are illegal under antitrust laws and have “manipulated the pricing of its products” and “have harmed and continue to harm competition for the sale of hobby sports trading cards.”

Frontline claims that Upper Deck’s limited selection of distributors in the United States and Canada — which does not include it, despite an 18-year history of selling in the industry — is an “unlawful campaign to erect artificial barriers to entry, restrict output and maintain its monopoly power” with a select few licenses (NCAA, MLS) and a roster of exclusive athletes whose autographs can only be found in Upper Deck products such as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Landon Donovan.

In March, Upper Deck Sports Marketing and Social Media Manager Chris Carlin wrote on UD’s blog about the genesis of its program, saying “this course of action was important in order to strengthen and protect the company’s brands, while also streamlining and better-defining the company’s channels of distribution. UD crafted this program by working in collaboration with our Certified Diamond Dealers (hobby shops), Authorized Distributors and legal team.”

On Thursday, Carlin said Upper Deck declined to comment on the case.

“We cannot comment on any ongoing litigation,” he said, “[nor] can I share information regarding how we select our business partners.”

Frontline, which in its court filing readily admits its business strategy is to sell more volume at a lower profit as “of one of the largest volume and the lowest-cost providers of hobby sports trading cards,” cannot purchase UD products from any other authorized dealers, who aren’t allowed to sell to those who would re-sell the products, as part of its agreement.  Specifically, it contends that “Upper Deck intended to specifically exclude or reduce competition from Frontline because Frontline was engaged in price-cutting to offer the best prices to its customers.”

Specifically, Frontline contends that Upper Deck is in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Section 3 of the Clayton Act with its policy.

Previously, Frontline had been a direct buyer of product from Upper Deck since it opened for business, according to the court filing. In an April meeting between Frontline’s Thomas Fish and Upper Deck, Fish was told, according to the filing, that Upper Deck would not recognize its Virginia retail location as a storefront and that enhancements would not help.

Furthermore, Frontline claims that “for pretextural and factually unsupportable reasons” Upper Deck refused to grant it status as an authorized Internet retailer, which has “severely damaged Frontline through lost sales and profits.” Frontline has been an online seller since at least 2004.

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Upper Deck announces plans for the National filled with autographs and giveaways

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

VIPs and other collectors can land some great exclusive Upper Deck products at the National Sports Collectors Convention from August 3-7.

First up, collectors who come to the VIP sneak peek on Wednesday will be able to get a special card set found only in Chicago. The set six-card set features superstars with Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, LeBron James, Bobby Orr and Landon Donovan.

After that, Upper Deck will have something for every collector. There will be four different five-card pack in its wrapper redemption program.

Fans need to purchase five packs of specified Upper Deck products from Certified Diamond Dealers. They will receive a voucher to bring to the Upper Deck booth where they will receive one of four 2011 National event-exclusive packs. Each day there will be a different five-card collection redeemed and they will be available while supplies last. Cards must be opened at the Upper Deck booth. To find out which Upper Deck products are eligible, visit the booth at the show.

“We are pulling out all the stops to make Upper Deck’s presence at the 32nd National Sports Collectors Convention a memorable one for our fans in attendance,” said Mike Phillips, Upper Deck’s director of hobby sales in a release. “By creating promotions that help support the efforts of our Certified Diamond Dealers, we can help create a situation where fans are seeing real value in purchasing through the right channels. Being able to provide so many unique giveaways and promotions during this show is also a great way to give back to our fans who have always been very engaged with our brand and products. We can’t wait to get out there and have the chance to interact more with them.”

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U.S. Women’s National Team kicks it into high gear

By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Senior Market Analyst

Pressure Makes Us. Nike Soccer’s tag line for the United States Women’s National Team was on display on Sunday morning when the U.S. Women took the field in their Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match against mighty Brazil.

Down a man (or woman) and down 2-1, in the final minutes of extra time, Abby Wambach headed a pinpoint cross from Megan Rapinoe into the back of the net. The goal – and ensuing celebration – brought back memories of Landon Donovan’s miraculous goal against Algeria in last year’s World Cup. Goalkeeper Hope Solo came up huge in the subsequent penalty shootout, stopping Daiane’s shot, while the U.S. Women coolly put each of their five penalty kicks in the back of the net, setting up a semifinal match between the United States and France.

The U.S. women don’t appear on many trading cards, but thanks to some foresight by Donruss in 2008 and Upper Deck’s push to add cards from the Women’s Professional Soccer to its MLS products, they’ve got more than you might think. Buyer beware. There are several sellers on eBay selling unlicensed “custom” or “homemade” cards. While they may be nice collectibles, they’re not something that we would ever catalog or price in our database.

Abby Wambach – Sunday’s hero has appeared on 29 different cards, with her first being in the 2003 Sports Illustrated for Kids release. She’s got seven certified autographs, with her 2004 Leather and Lumber Fans of the Game Autographs ($50) and 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Autographs ($40) being the hottest on the secondary market. She’s got seven different memorabilia cards with her 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Memorabilia ($15) and 2011 Upper Deck MLS WPS Materials ($15) cards fast becoming collector favorites.

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Upper Deck to send a collector to MLS All-Star Game

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

With soccer taking the forefront in the sports world right now with the Women’s World Cup underway and Major League Soccer’s All-Star game drawing near, Upper Deck is taking the opportunity to reward one lucky fan.

On the line: a trip to the 2011 MLS All-Star Game, which is hosted by the New York/New Jersey Red Bulls in the New York metropolitan area.

For those of you who have been collecting 2011 MLS cards since the 200-card exclusive Upper Deck set was released in April, this contest could be close at hand.

To win, collect all 20 MLS Materials game-used jersey insert cards. Then, contact Upper Deck at upperdeckmarketing@upperdeck.com to learn how and where to submit your entry.

See a full checklist after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2011 Upper Deck MLS Soccer cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Dave Sliepka, Andrew Tolentino and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Upper Deck Soccer boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Upper Deck Authenticated lands Landon Donovan


By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

One of the most widely known American soccer stars is coming to Upper Deck.

Landon Donovan has signed to be a spokesperson with the company. Donovan already has game-used memorabilia and autographs cards in soccer products, but his signature is coming to Upper Deck Authenticated.

And it looks like these pieces could be picked up in the very near future.

Donovan has already had his first signing session with Upper Deck, which include a number of autographed products such as posters, soccer balls and jerseys.

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Could Ochocinco appear on a soccer card?

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

In a cardboard universe that’s soon to include video trading cards, the answer to this question is “definitely maybe.”

According to a recently-released ESPN.com news item and the following video from the foxsports YouTube channel, the loud-mouthed Bengals receiver started a four-day trial with Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City earlier this week. Obviously better known for the other foot-named game, Chad Ochocinco apparently played soccer during his youth — and this tryout could (but likely won’t) spark a new career.

In the case that he just happens to make the roster — and if he’s willing to take a massive salary cut — collectors might just be able to see a different kind of Ochocinco football cards.

Despite the fact that April Fool’s Day is one week from today, the  footage below is very, very real.

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