Upper Deck Euroleague Analysis


October 21- Ricky Rubio

By Derek Ficken | Basketball Price Guide Analyst

With the recent news of Upper Deck’s exclusive deal with Euroleague Basketball, many are wondering how this may affect the basketball card market.

There are presently a number of young, international players like Ricky Rubio, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Dennis Schroeder garnering attention on the court and in the hobby, there is an increased interest in international basketball stars. Many collectors are looking for their earliest cards and currently, would most likely have to wait until after the NBA Draft (barring some special promotion or exclusive from Panini America) before adding these cards to their collection.

Potentially, with Upper Deck’s exclusive deal, collectors will be able to purchase cards of international stars before their first official NBA-licensed cards are released. While they won’t carry the Rookie Card designation in the Price Guide, they could prove to be highly collectible.

In 2009, Ricky Rubio was an 18-year-old budding sensation in the Euroleague, climbing the ranks of international stardom, and highly touted in the 2009 NBA Draft. His first cards in the Beckett Basketball database hail from 2009-10. Were this type of exclusive deal in place, collectors potentially could have collected a number of cards pre-dating his rookie year in the NBA. Potentially, this deal could lead to products similar to those prospect-heavy baseball products like Bowman Chrome and Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks. Collectors buying Upper Deck’s Euroleague cards have the opportunity to open a pack with a future NBA superstar inside, possibly years before their first official NBA Rookie Card.

On the surface, this deal seems like a win for all types of collectors. The prospecting gambler may chase the next group of international stars and attempt to flip their cards for big money, while player and team collectors now have more cards to chase of their favorite players and teams.


Brian Fleischer

A collector since 1986, Brian has spent the last 15 years working as an Analyst in the Beckett pricing department. A vintage baseball card collector, he also collects vintage European soccer cards and pre-war Fordham University sports memorabilia. Have a question? You can reach him by email.

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  1. Paul Angilly 21 October, 2014 at 15:58

    “Pre-rookie” cards are hardly a new idea in any sport, and other than some very rare vintage minor league baseball issues, have never had any lasting value (think Topps Pro Debut – some interest, sure, but less value than their MLB rookie cards). Why would this set be any different?

  2. Fred 22 October, 2014 at 06:27

    What’s the point if we can’t buy it here in Europe? I mean Topps, UD and Panini don’t care at all about the European market despite the great collectors and the demand. We have to pay big fees (shipping and customs) in order to get any product.
    We’re in 2014 guys! Wake up. Go create Topps Europe or UD Europe. It won’t cost you anything. And what about Panini? Before the US market it was all European stuff with soccer sticker. You’re an Italian brand and you don’t take the time to sell, let’s say just Hoops, to us here?

    As you may know there’s something outside the U.S. Unless they don’t want our money…

  3. KenM 23 October, 2014 at 10:41

    Do you have a local card shop where live. Where do you live? Actually when i retire I thourhgt about opening a shop in germany. How much do you get taxed on duties and fees when buying cards?

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