Upper Deck Overtime returns for 2015-16



By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

One of the best-kept secrets among hockey card collectors in recent years has been the Overtime promotional packs that Upper Deck has created for GTS Distribution in the United States and Universal Distribution in Canada. Not only are they a perfect promotional tool for dealers to utilize, but they also offer hobbyists some limited cards and autographs as a special bonus.

Heading into its third season, 2015-16 Upper Deck Overtime will once again be offered in three waves and allocation is tied to how much dealers order of specific products from the two distributors. For the first offering, those staking their claim on boxes and cases of 2015-16 Upper Deck Artifacts, 2015-16 Upper Deck Series One, and 2015-16 Upper Deck Buybacks will receive packs. Each wave will have 60 base cards along with compelling insert and autograph content.

Back in 2012-13, Upper Deck worked with GTS and Universal on a promotion that was a precursor to Overtime and it started as a bonus pack that was relatively basic and moderately successful. It was meant to help support dealers during the last NHL labor stoppage and has constantly evolved since then.

“I was involved in the initial development of the Overtime promotion,” said Joe Fallon of GTS. “The goal was to deliver unique hockey value to GTS customers; something exclusive that our shops could use to in turn deliver value and excitement to their customers. The concept ties to a core GTS, and Universal I believe, principle. It’s not simply about selling products at a price, it’s more about creating programs and partnership opportunities. These packs, from Upper Deck to the end consumer, create conversations and relationships – that’s a bit corny I realize, but it’s true. A lot of people work together to create and execute the program. GTS and Universal work with all of our customers to tell them about the packs and ultimately get the packs into the shops. The retailers then get them into end consumers hands. It’s pretty cool – a whole hockey card circle of life thing.”

Angelo Exharkos of Universal echoed a similar sentiment.

“I’ve always struggled to find ways where we can give tools to the brick and mortar shops where they can have something at their disposal for prizing,” he said. “There’s going to be some guys that come in, break a case, and not be happy. We really, as an industry, the category has given those retailers no tools to deal with those kinds of situations. We’ve never really given them the tools to hold any events or promotions to create some sort of excitement in the shop.

“The big battle we’ve fought for at least the last decade-and-a-half is what is the difference between walking into a shop and buying some cards versus buying them from someone online and opening them at home. If we’re going to be successful, we need to make sure we have ways to drive people into shops and start creating that community inside the shop. That’s always going to be a way where we retain that collector for a much longer period of time. On my side, I’ve seen this be successful with Magic: The Gathering where each time they do a release or an event, it gives that retailer the tools to reward people and manage situations. We haven’t done that. I saw Overtime as that kind of a tool, as a way to give the retailer something that they can use as prizing, as a reward, as a make-up for something that went bad.”


Grant Sandground, Upper Deck’s Director of Product Development, has been involved with Overtime since the beginning and summed up what makes it special.

“Overtime is really unique in that it features arguably the deepest checklist ever made for a non-parallel promotional set. Releasing it in three waves also allows the content to stay fresh over the course of the hockey season. You add in the fact that it has autos seeded at 1:36 packs and beautiful rainbow foil inserts makes it a true standout.”

“The fact that Overtime packs are distributed in such a non-traditional way as a gift with purchase through Universal Distribution and GTS Distribution really gets collectors talking about how to acquire these packs,” continued Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin. “There is almost feeling of mystery to them. It is almost like bringing the wrapper redemption promotions we do at trade shows to the hobby shops. The fact that the content is also great only makes it better.”

Sandground has collaborated with GTS and Universal to develop each release and that effort is appreciated by Fallon.

“It’s pretty exciting how the concept has evolved from a simple promotion to an expected collectible each season. Like anything hockey, it maybe doesn’t get the attention in the U.S. that it does north of the border. However, savvy shops recognize that the program continues to deliver ever-increasing value, and by not taking advantage of free packs, they are leaving money on the table. More and more shops in the U.S. see the history the packs and cards have now, and realize it’s really good opportunity for them. It has been great to work with the Upper Deck team and Universal to make sure the set continues to meet collector desires. Each year we’ve been able to tweak the set a little.”


David Vatri from Universal has watched the brand closely since its inception and has observed its impact in the hobby.

“This year was a much bigger improvement with a larger set divided into three waves,” he said. {There were some nice cards and they’ve achieved decent values on the secondary market. It definitely had some traction this year. Sometimes, it’s difficult to get a finger on the pulse of how well it performed because the dealers are busy and there’s so much coming at them. It was a huge improvement over the first year, so the evolution of it was tremendous.”

All parties involved also feel that the 2015-16 edition is bound to be a success.

“The 2015-16 rookie class is exciting for all hockey products, not just our promotion,” said Fallon. “Looking at the promotion, I think people will like that we simplified by not offering pre-order and regular packs; and in the process have really added life to each wave of packs with unique inserts and, I think, the best designs so far. With such a great rookie class and different rookies showing up in each wave, it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

“This is year is a no-brainer simply because we already have momentum from the last couple of years,” Exharkos added. “The brand has really evolved. If you look at where it was, content-wise, three years ago and where it is now, it’s completely night and day. We are going to continue that evolution. Obviously, the rookies play a very large factor. This year, it is going to be interesting to see what the Overtime Connor McDavid cards go for. Our intent is to keep the brand current and evolving along with the category. We want it to be cutting edge and something that really keeps people’s interest.”

Stephen Laroche is the editor of Beckett Hockey. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at slaroche@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Laroche.


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  1. Kin 23 June, 2015 at 16:02

    That’s nice and all, but as someone who PC collects a non-big name player, these are basically pointless to me. I would love to see more big sets, so my player is in more than just Upper Deck and OPC.

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