Citing a need to clear up confusion regarding their product plans in light of Major League Baseball’s recent announcement that it has entered into an exclusive trading card agreement with Topps starting next season, Upper Deck officials released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“On July 2, 2009, The Upper Deck Company and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced their renewed partnership to produce baseball trading cards for the upcoming 2010 season, building on the successes of recent years in rebuilding the trading card category through strengthened distribution, consumer-friendly pricing, dynamic products and interactive promotions designed to attract kids to the excitement of baseball cards. This license provides Upper Deck with the rights to feature current Major League Baseball Players on their trading cards, including the game’s most collectible and sought-after superstars.
” ‘Looking ahead to 2010, we are 100 percent committed to building the highest quality and most innovative baseball cards in the industry,’ said Upper Deck CEO Richard McWilliam. ‘We look forward to announcing more details on our product portfolio in the coming weeks.’
“Since its inception in 1989, Upper Deck has been [a] market leader for both its ability to create top-quality super premium products and to develop innovative programs that promote baseball cards to kids. In the past four years alone, Upper Deck has committed more than $21 million to increase kids’ interest in baseball cards. Through annual television advertising campaigns, numerous retail promotions and online initiatives such as Upper Deck’s Kids Rewards and the current UpperDeckU.com virtual world, Upper Deck has led the way in dramatically increasing household penetration of kids collecting sports cards from 8 percent in 2005 to a reported 44 percent in 2008.
“The MLBPA license agreement provides access to more than 1,200 current Major League Baseball players, including all of its stars. Fans can look forward to finding cards featuring autographs and pieces of game-used equipment from the biggest names in baseball including Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr. and hundreds more. ‘Great cards of great players will continue to be the cornerstone of all Upper Deck products,’ added McWilliam.
” The license agreement between Upper Deck and the MLBPA ensures the company’s continued commitment to its existing consumer base, while at the same time building on its extensive investments to stimulate even greater interest among new users and kids.
” ‘We’re looking forward to continuing the partnership with Upper Deck, a licensee that is clearly focused on the long-term growth of the trading card category,” said Judy Heeter, MLBPA Director of Business Affairs & Licensing. “We believe strong competition is generally good for consumers, and expect that our ongoing relationships with both Topps and Upper Deck will ensure consumer choices that lead to category growth.’ “