Upper Deck issues statement on CLC status

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Upper Deck‘s exclusive card license with the Collegiate Licensing Company that began in 2010 will remain in place into next year, the company said in a statement Friday — a response to the news that Panini America had signed a trading card agreement with three major universities.

“Upper Deck continues to be fully committed in creating the most innovative, high quality collegiate trading cards ever produced. Previously, collegiate cards were only interspersed into professional trading card sets by the large manufacturers, and referred to as ‘Professional Prospect cards,'” the company said in a statement posted on its blog. “Over the last four years, Upper Deck has taken collegiate cards to a whole new level … In addition, Upper Deck has expanded well beyond the boundaries of traditional college sports to include a wide array of both men’s and women’s athletic programs that have never been featured on trading cards.”

Upper Deck also noted that it has worked to not over-produce cards for the category.

“As an exclusive trading card partner of the CLC, Upper Deck has been able to responsibly manage the category, limiting releases and production so as not to saturate the market or jeopardize the steady growth and solid foundation that has taken years of hard work to build,” the company said. “Imminent changes in 2015 have already sparked serious concerns from collectors, store owners, distributors and others in the trading card industry.

“Mismanagement of the collegiate trading card license could destroy the stability that this market has come to rely on, and flood the market with an excess of products that hold little or no value.  Upper Deck is working hard to not let this happen, and is committed to delivering the most innovative, high quality collectible trading cards available in the market today, tomorrow and into the foreseeable future.”

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.

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3 comments

  1. Paul Angilly 24 October, 2014 at 12:52

    Wow … usually, to see that much b.s. you have to go to a farm.

    “Upper Deck has expanded well beyond the boundaries of traditional college sports to include a wide array of both men’s and women’s athletic programs that have never been featured on trading cards.”
    – That statement was basically lifted from the company’s initial press release after getting the license. I remember, because at the time it made me excited about what UD might do. But unless I missed something, they haven’t done it, except for a small handful of women’s soccer and basketball cards in its World of Sport set back in 2011. Otherwise, it’s just been a stream of football and basketball sets featuring the same mix of former greats and recently-graduated prospects.

    “Imminent changes in 2015 have already sparked serious concerns from collectors, store owners, distributors and others in the trading card industry.”
    – translation: “We’re so screwed …”

    “Mismanagement of the collegiate trading card license could destroy the stability that this market has come to rely on, and flood the market with an excess of products that hold little or no value. Upper Deck is working hard to not let this happen, and is committed to delivering the most innovative, high quality collectible trading cards available in the market today, tomorrow and into the foreseeable future.”
    – translation: “Panini is about to kill us, unless we can convince enough collectors to buy CFL and European basketball cards.”

    It’s a shame that Upper Deck couldn’t take something like its 25th anniversary multi-sport promo set and turn it into a wide-scale release. That would be cool. But it’s been a long time since the company has been that “innovative.”

    Love Panini or hate them (I do a little of both), the company certainly has shown an ability to thrive in the current marketplace. I just hope they don’t take over the MLB license because I don’t want to imagine a world where I couldn’t collect Topps’ base brand MLB set every year.

  2. card opinionator 28 October, 2014 at 14:59

    Paul, I think you are selling them a little short on your first point. In World of Sports, we have seen Lacrosse, mountain climbing, surfing, women’s soccer, figure skating, and plenty more. Don’t forget the stand alone products for Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Kansas. I do wonder why they did not use their license in Goodwin Champions.

    I agree, it sounds like they are scrambling. At the same time, they bought a license. It is reasonable to expect it will not be torn apart, and offered to others in pieces, when they had to buy the whole.

  3. Paul Angilly 28 October, 2014 at 19:14

    card opinionator – We did see lots of sports in World of Sports, which is a set I very much liked. But of the sports you mention only lacrosse and women’s soccer are college sports, and I mentioned women’s soccer (I forgot about lacrosse) in my original post. But as I stated, there hasn’t been another World of Sports set since that 2011 issue. That’s not exactly expanding the market. And I didn’t forget about the single-college products, but you don’t need the CLC license for that, just from the individual schools, like Panini is doing. Upper Deck – surprisingly – hasn’t even issued a college baseball set since it got the CLC license. I did like the looks of UD’s recent conference greats set, but that was probably too little, too late.

    I’m hoping Panini will sign a deal with UConn, my alma mater, and make a UConn-specific set full of all the NBA and WNBA players to have come from the Huskies, maybe even mixing in a few football and baseball (like George Springer) players, too – maybe even add in some of their past great women’s and men’s soccer players and even field hockey, etc.

    You can’t blame CLC if individual schools want to offer their own deals – that’s up to the schools. CLC has no real control over that. The way college sports is moving with recent court challenges to NCAA amateur rules, it may even end up being possible to sign deals with individual players even before they graduate or turn pro.

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