Press Pass VP confirms company is finished (updated)

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

NASCAR‘s lone trading card manufacturer, Press Pass, is done.

Nick Matijevich, who had worked as the VP of Operations since February 2013 after a previous four-plus-year stint with the company, confirmed to Beckett Media on Monday that the company is closing.

“We’re disappointed to announce that the ownership group is closing the day-to-day operations of Press Pass, effective immediately,” Matijevich said. “Accounting and legal resources are in place and will continue to operate normally to conduct a reasonable closure of the business. I will be assisting on a limited basis over the next few weeks.”

“We are very thankful for the years of support from all of our customers and consumers,” Matijevich said. “Over the past 22 years we’ve strived to produce compelling products that serve the interests of our end consumers. While it has not always been perfect, we have truly enjoyed our successes, and the relationships that we’ve built with so many who share our passion for trading cards.”

Founded in 1992, Press Pass released more then 300 products for auto racing, football, basketball, baseball, rodeo, non-sports and multi-sports programs during that run. Its primary focus for years had been NASCAR, particularly since the company lost college logos for its popular basketball and football draft picks sets when the Collegiate Licensing Company license went to Upper Deck on an exclusive basis in 2010.

BurningRubber

Press Pass was the first company in the industry to incorporate game-used material into cards with its Burning Rubber set that arrived in early 1996 with race-used tire material used within the cards. Later that year, it created the first cards using pieces of racer firesuits and sheet metal from NASCAR stock cars.

>> RELATED | FAB FIVE: Interesting Press Pass card sets

In recent years, the Huntersville, N.C.-based company had held licenses to produce cards of Elvis Presley, KISS, Professional Bull Riders, Parks and Recreation and Yo Gabba Gabba, while also continuing to produce college-football focused draft picks sets without school logos. The company also explored cut autograph products during that time.

Its most-recent release was for NASCAR, with the 2015 Press Pass Cup Chase product that arrived late last year and is presently available as 2015 Press Pass at retail.

In a second statement released by the company on Monday, the company said it will not be able to fulfill redemptions or replace damaged cards in its remaining time to close its books.

We apologize but no redemptions, damages [replacements], etc. will be honored,” read the statement. 

For all 2014 products, Press Pass had a total of 61 cards issued as a redemption, or tagged EXCH, in the Beckett.com database and some of those are likely live at this point. That’s out of more than 1,400 different cards issued as EXCH for all companies in the system for that year.

Blake Davidson, NASCAR’s Vice President of Licensing and Consumer Products, told Beckett Media on Monday said the organization is presently considering its options for a future trading card licensee.

“We are actually in the process of researching alternatives now,” Davidson said.

Of current card-makers, only two have previously issued NASCAR cards. Upper Deck created sets from 1995 to 2000, while Topps tried with eTopps in 2003. Rittenhouse produced a card set for the Indy Racing League in 2007. Panini America has not produced NASCAR cards, but the Action Packed and Pinnacle/Score brands that were produced throughout the 1990s are part of its portfolio.

We’ll have more updates here as information is available.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

25 Comments

  1. Posted Friday January 2nd, 2015 at 07:16 PM | Permalink

    Sad day for collectors. I always enjoyed busting their products.

  2. klayton
    Posted Friday January 2nd, 2015 at 07:58 PM | Permalink

    Our only card shop could not get any product because his wholesaler quit carrying NASCAR related products. This is the only sport that I collect. Very sad!

  3. David D
    Posted Friday January 2nd, 2015 at 08:10 PM | Permalink

    Another very sad day for me-and other collectors. You always knew when you were purchasing Press Pass that you were purchasing a “quality” product.
    As a collector, I never got over the loss of Fleer-then Donruss! They were a staple of my collections as a young man in my early 20’s.
    Couldn’t believe that Panini brought back what they called “Donruss”- only with players with no MLB logos and multiple side shots- due to lack of an MLB license-and no Perez gallery Diamond Kings. What a farce!
    I often hear collectors complaining about too many companies. I personally liked the variety to choose. Today, another company collapse gives us even less to choose from!

  4. Jonathan W. Iwanski
    Posted Friday January 2nd, 2015 at 08:19 PM | Permalink

    No more Press Pass? I’ve always thought of them as the company that took some risks. Maybe it was because they couldn’t get the contracts with the right players’ associations, but TV shows and PBR takes guts. I have lots of Press Pass in my PC and am sad to see another quality company fall by the wayside when there are so many big, uncreative companies getting the contracts and making second-rate products, and safe ones at that.

  5. Mark
    Posted Friday January 2nd, 2015 at 09:51 PM | Permalink

    Between NASCAR continuing to shoot itself in the foot with terrible choices in how it picks its champion and declining TV ratings that started when the on-track racing product suffered the slow, COT-induced death, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Toss on top of that the tangled web that is licensing a series of independent drivers, teams, and sponsors, it may take either an enterprising company or a change in how NASCAR does business to get another NASCAR set.

  6. Jordan Friedman
    Posted Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

    I will miss them….I always loved and appreciated the football blasters with ON-CARD autos and GAME-USED jerseys (both of which are incredibly important to me as a collector).
    What a shame…

  7. R. Brown
    Posted Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at 05:55 AM | Permalink

    I do hear that Press Pass is closing it’s doors, but until I hear it from Press Pass, I will still have hope that it will remain open.
    I am a collector of NASCAR and Press Pass has done a great job of putting out cards for NASCAR. I have collected other company’s cards and I was not real impressed with them. If Press Pass shuts down, I don’t think I will be in the card collecting business anymore.
    I stopped collecting stick and ball stuff many years ago, due to the flooding of the market with cards. I see in stores it is still about the same when it comes to Football, Base Ball and Basketball. To many different cards of the same stuff and just the name is different.
    The sad thing is, I will no longer need to be on here as well. With not needing the OPG to find out NASCAR card prices, I don’t need beckett.com
    Oh Well, I guess we will just have to wait and see.

  8. JayKayZed
    Posted Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at 07:18 AM | Permalink

    This is horrible news. Press Pass has always seemed to care about the quality of their product in a way that other companies laugh about. It’s more than a little sickening to think companies such as Press Pass are bullied out of the mainstream market, while careless jackanapes (and I don’t have to name them) are able to secure licenses for major franchises.
    I was always a buyer of their football product, up until they lost that license, and was drawn into NASCAR collecting almost single-handedly by the incredible design and quality of Press Pass’ products.

    This is a tremendous loss and gives me a little less hope for the future of the hobby.

  9. chrisolds
    Posted Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    We should know more on this Monday, if not sooner.

  10. GRADY MALACHOWSKI
    Posted Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at 01:58 PM | Permalink

    WILL PANINI GOBBLE UP NASCAR NOW?

  11. Jason
    Posted Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    Long story short is Panini products just stink.

  12. MICHAEL RUNYON
    Posted Sunday January 4th, 2015 at 05:48 PM | Permalink

    This sucks but mainly because good people are losing their jobs. Yea Nick may land at another company but its still uprooting your family moving and starting over. Others may not work in the hobby again.

    As a racing collector its especially disheartining becuase we know the odds of any other company taking over racing is slim to none.

    I remember when I first discovered racing cards back in the 90s. I was in the navy in 88 or i would have been all over it then.

    I remember when press pass released m force with the first race used cards in it and watching people drop tons of money on packs trying to pull one.

    I remember the excitment Wehad when we had our own beckett finally and the sadness that came when we lost our own beckett magazine.

    I remember when I pulled my first autograph and it was out of finish line gold. great looking cards but no way to distinguish a pack pulled autograph and one someone got signed later using a gold pen.

    I have collections that include almost all of the wood brothers cards and david pearson. I havecollections of every nascar person from the 287 288 and 289 zip codes.

    I have one autograph from every owner driver spouse media etc that has one on card not couting the signature cards.

    I was looking foward to see what first time signers would come out this year so I could add to that collection.

    I hope we get a new product one day but until then I am not going anywhere but to find my missing cards

  13. David Quinn
    Posted Sunday January 4th, 2015 at 08:22 PM | Permalink

    As a NASCAR collector this is a kick to the teeth. But the problem wasn’t the racing product. It was the loss of the collegiate lic. This was the money maker. Most John Q average card buyers who bought at the box stores, bought the college draft cards. The racing product sold out 90+% of the time.

    I do see someone stepping up to the plate. But it will be late this year before (at the earliest) we see anything. Most likely it will be either Topps or Panini, Upper Deck doesn’t have the war chest to got through the time it will take to do the product right.

    I’ve been collecting racing long enough to have bought 1990 Maxx when it was new. Collectors like me are now without representation in the market.

  14. richard hogenson
    Posted Monday January 5th, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    Maybe Topps can make NASCAR cards.

  15. Richard
    Posted Monday January 5th, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    Well, that’s sucks. Press pass has long been a favorite of mine simply because they were almost always the
    first with an affordable hard signed auto of many of the players. In some cases, those cards turned out to
    be the only card made as the players did not always get drafted or last long enough to get a card made by
    one of the mainstream sets. The cards were not great for collectors in many cases, but often they were for
    the fans of the college teams.

  16. phillies_joe
    Posted Monday January 5th, 2015 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    Like David Q said….no representation of any type in the hobby is a bad thing for everyone. Though I only collect baseball , anytime a company goes out of business or reduces a product line, the hobby suffers. Innovation and quality are bi-products of competition not consolidation/monopolies.

  17. Ian Martin
    Posted Monday January 5th, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    Having done so many things right during their run, I’m surprised to hear that Press Pass won’t be giving collectors at least a 6 – 8 week grace period after their announcement so that issues that are still live can be resolved. It’s a courtesy that should be extended to their customer base, the ones that kept Press Pass in business all of these years. This blindsides fans of their cards, collectors who have invested good money based on trust and Press Pass’ track record of providing great customer service. Sad to see them go but sadder to see the way they are going out.

  18. Jeff
    Posted Monday January 5th, 2015 at 03:04 PM | Permalink

    Have to think licensing (CLC) killed the company from a football card perspective. This was by far one of the most fun sets to collect as a college collector, it took me 7 years to find a few unnumbered reflectors. I wonder if Sage is next?

  19. Steven Craig A.
    Posted Monday January 5th, 2015 at 09:59 PM | Permalink

    I’m not a racing card collector, but sad to see news like this……….In a HOBBY I love.

    I see one other companies name mentioned in several comments & the comments don’t seem to be ‘positive’, and that name is Panini. I agree with most of the comments I’ve read……but it is not just the ‘greedy shark’ coming in for more prey, but also whomever is allowing this to happen.
    I remember reading a few articles in the middle of the last decade & how there was going to be ‘controls put in place’……so a tighter ship could be run & ‘blah-blah-blah-blah’

    I’m not going to keep rambling on…..but I’d like to leave you with one word-“GREED”

  20. Mashmore98
    Posted Thursday January 8th, 2015 at 04:22 PM | Permalink

    Love how this is somehow Panini’s fault…

  21. Richard
    Posted Thursday January 8th, 2015 at 06:11 PM | Permalink

    It’s Panini, per se, its colleges giving exclusive rights to card companies that help start the road to the end.
    Press Pass had a hard enough time getting people on board given they could not use NFL logos.

    What the did manage to do was provide great cards for college collectors.
    Ever since Upper Deck got the exclusive rights (now owned by Panini), the market share/demand for
    Press Pass products dropped, which is damn shame.

    I’m sure that other factors are involved, like maybe producing some cards that lost them money some how,
    but I for one will miss their presence in the hobby and hope they get picked up by Panini if that’s what it
    takes.

  22. Chris
    Posted Saturday January 10th, 2015 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    Even after they lost the collegiate licensing I still bought Press Pass for the ON CARD AUTOS!!!!! I used to wait every year for their product from the 90’s on. Very said because I will miss the on card autos, red ink autos, signature variations, numbered auto levels and them being the first football product. Sage does not count to me, it is just ugly garbage with too many unknown autos. So a very sad day to me. I love Topps but Panini products we so ugly this year. I hope with them getting the collegiate license as well they do something good with it. Upper Deck does a good job with it so I hope it does not hurt them. Sad day for me though. The product that got me back in the hobby is gone.

  23. Greg
    Posted Thursday January 15th, 2015 at 05:25 PM | Permalink

    I am sure Panini will step in and make awful product…

  24. ChiBears5
    Posted Monday June 29th, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Does anyone have the RED INK And INSCRIPTIONS LISTS for the different sets that were available on the Press Pass website but are now gone?

  25. Andrew Desiderio
    Posted Sunday August 23rd, 2015 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    I think that while there may not be a company producing Race cards at this moment, some other sports card producing company will soon fill the void, for collectors and Race fans.
    But !
    If ,they were never produced, ever again. Just think. The growth of desire by us collectors to fill our sets , wants and collection.
    Limited ….. would mean limited to what was produced in the past and with some of our most loved racing hero’s riding into the Great race track in the sky. We would have to say limited with a new found meaning.
    God Bless Buddy Baker and all of his Family and friends. Happy Racing in the most prestigious raceway,
    “Hallowed Speedway”

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