Sunday, February 27, 2011

Have You Listened to The Hobby's only LIVE, National, Call-in Radio Show?

First, to all of those who have supported the program, Thank You. Card Corner Club Radio is The Hobby's only, LIVE, nationally broadcast radio call in show. The number of live listeners and podcast downloads continues to increase every week. The homepage link for the show can be found here on Blogtalk Radio and the here for iTunes.

Our regular guest host, 2x All Star and Gem Mint 10 RC collector, Dmitri Young will continue with us on a weekly basis and we have some bigger partnership plans in the works.

In addition to discussing the latest trading cards and collectibles news with opinionated commentary, we have brought in an ever expanding lineup of guests. A partial list includes:

Author of Mint Condition Dave Jamieson
Panini Marketing Manager Tracy Hackler
Industry Summit organizer Kevin Iaasacson

Upper Deck Marketing Manager Chris Carlin
Topps Social Media/PR Communications Mike Mader
Former ECW and TNA Champ Terry Gerin AKA Rhyno
MLB Top 10 Prospect Eric Hosmer
Pitchman extraordinaire Don West
ITG Marketing Manager Steve LaRoche
Author of Cardboard Gods Josh Wilker
McFarlane Sports Picks Brand Manager Mark Weber
Editor in Chief of Non-Sport Update Harris Toser
Leaf Trading Card Company President Brian Gray
Akosa Akpom brand Manager for Jakks Pacific Fight Division (TNA, UFC)

In addition we have brought you on location interviews from The National Sports Collectors Convention, the NHL Winter Classic and All-Star Games as well as NY Toy Fair. We have also given away hundreds of dollars in FREE prizes including hobby boxes, packs, autos, memorabilia cards, and more!!

So if you haven't checked us out yet, we hope you do. LIVE every Friday at 10pm CST for Card Corner Club Radio.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Panini Appears Willing to Put Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

One of the topics of conversation at the Industry Summit in Vegas next month is going to be what can be done to aid the remaining brick and mortar hobby shops. Panini has notified their distributors of a strict policy moving forward. While this sounds good on paper it has yet to be determined if it will be enforceable or is merely lip service.

I am not aware, for instance, if Blowout Cards even has a retail presence and I can't imagine Panini giving up that revenue. However, under the terms below, just having one won't be enough. 60% of sales volume must come from walk-in traffic. I'm pretty sure not even Dave and Adam's, who does have a retail location, if not two, can claim that.

So, now that most business owners have figured out how to incorporate online revenue streams into their business model through eBay, the Becket Marketplace, website eCommerce and others, do these new requirements help or hinder businesses who have adapted their model for an online marketplace?

Here is the text of the Retailer Qualification Form:

Please be advised Panini is starting to implement plans to support the Brick and Mortar stores and clarify roles within our industry. Below is the list of requirements/criteria to be an approved Authorized Brick and Mortar Retailer.
Authorized Panini Retailers must adhere to the following guidelines. Failure to do so will result in immediate termination from the program.

o 60% of business is done via in store traffic
o Open for business a minimum of 40 hours per week
o Do you eBay? Provide eBay name: __________________________________
o Do you operate a site for your store? Provide address: __________________________________
o A store email address that is checked daily
o This address will be used for placing online orders and electronic communications.
In addition to meeting these criteria, all retailers must submit the following documents.
o Four pictures of retail storefront. Pictures must clearly show the following:
o Outside signage including front door and windows matching the name and address of store on account application and building marquee
o Indoor retail space showing most current Panini products on shelves and other items you stock
o Bing or Google Aerial view close up of your storefront
o Telephone directory page listing storefront name ,address and phone number
o A copy of sales tax permit
o A copy of most recent sales tax payment
o A copy of lease agreement
o Do you set up at card shows? If so, provide list of shows you regularly set up at.
o Must adhere to pricing guidelines
o Wholesaling of product is not allowed. Product purchased is intended for retail consumption only.
o No cross border selling of any Panini products allowed
o Panini Authorized Retailers must be approved to sell at Trade Shows and on any internet sites.
o Not allowed to pre-sell or offer any Panini product before official street date

What are YOUR thoughts?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Value Added or Propping Up Products With No Value?

Alright, NO value might be a bit harsh but the title creates the mental connotation I'm going for in this post. Also, consider this more of a thinking out loud about the issue post than a full blown opinionated statement.

We, as collectors, are entering our second year with The Topps Company holding the baseball card tri-opoly (MLB, USA, MiLB) and a potentially disturbing trend is emerging. Multiple Topps products will be created with some sort of perceived value added component.

Last year we saw the Million Card Giveaway, Topps and Bowman Chrome wrapper redemption programs and this year we already have the Diamond Anniversary thing-a-ma-jig and the announcement today that 30 Albert Pujols rookie cards will be inserted into Topps Tribute.

There is a fine line between value added and giving back to collectors and feeling the need to incorporate some sort of mechanism that will drive sales. The subject has been something I have been thinking about for the last several months and was perfectly summed up in this exchange on Twitter today.

Collector A: Is it sad that what's going to sucker me into buying more 2011 Topps is the Diamond Giveaway redemption?

Collector B: Why's that sad? I can't remember the last time I had fun buying baseball cards. It seemed like a chore until Topps went and ran the MCG and now TDG (promotions)

Collector A: Dunno. Just seems like I should be buying them for the actual cards.


However, as a marketing person, I truly appreciate the buzz Topps has created both in The Hobby and mainstream media. The Valentine's Day engagement ring giveaway, while obviously a complete and total PR stunt, certainly worked as the Topps logo was branded all over a Today Show segment carried by NBC local affiliates around the country.

I don't know. Buybacks have been used a lot in various products by various manufacturers for years but something seems wrong about a once great brand like Topps Tribute needing to be pumped up with a buyback card chase of none other than Albert Pujols. It just seems to me that if you, as a product developer, can't make that brand successful standing on its own merits, maybe you have bigger issues to deal with.

What says you?

Spring Cleaning Your Collection

It hardly seems like a coincidence that pitchers and catchers have reported at the same time as a majority of the country begins to thaw. The sunshine and warmer temperatures means that spring and, with it, MLB 2011 Opening Day is just around the corner.

And with spring comes . . . you guessed it, spring cleaning. So how does this pertain to your collection?

Well if your man cave, displays or office are anything like mine they are probably in need, first and foremost of a good dusting. I have spoke on this subject before and even included a poll you can see here. The other day I actually saw a cobweb attached to a snap case. Gross.

However, that's not all. Have you taken the time to reflect recently on what it is you really collect? Not just the stuff you like, but the stuff you would be really upset to see ruined or lost.

In this beloved hobby of ours it is VERY easy to end up accumulating more than we collect. A subject I have also previously discussed. Whether it be from group box breaks, contests, card shows, impulse retail purchases you probably have stacks of cards you could care less about and you know aren't worth anything, including your time, to try and move on eBay.

You have several options to de-clutter but some of the most rewarding will be to package them up and deliver them to your local hospital's pediatric unit, Boy Scout troop, or Boy's & Girls Club. It's easy to forget that the things we take for granted as cynical adults in The Hobby can bring great pleasure to a deserving child.

In addition, to underestimate the money you can personally make but blowing them out at a garage sale. Another topic I have posted on previously. Even if you only clear $20 to spend on singles you really want off eBay, you clear space in the process.

Also, is your stack of Beckett's, Tuff Stuff's, and SCD's really doing you any good? Seriously. Other than the last few Rookie Rolodex issues and the current year's issues. What good are they? I purged my magazines long before I grew wise to the shennanigans down in Dallas.

Boxes of aged and yellow toploaders? Pitch em. A storage bin of junk wax? Well you know how I feel about that.

The point is, regardless of what you do, you'll be happy you did it.

What are some of YOUR ideas when it comes to spring cleaning your collection?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Closer Look at the Kimball Inserts from 2011 Topps

In my humble, or not so humble opinion, the 50-card Kimball insert set is one of the most visually appealing product components I have seen in a long time. I truly believe the brand, if done correctly, could easily replace the now tired Allen & Ginter. Blasphemy to many of you I know but it sure would make for a nice change of pace.

The set pays tribute to the original N184 W.S. Kimball Champions of Games and Sports (1887). A multi-sport product which you can see here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shameless Plug for My Friend and Yours . . .

. . . Don West! Have you caught any of his new live pitch show on GeekWeek? He's still got it. Although he gets so excited his smoker's cough kicks in once in awhile. here's some info he sent about tonight's show.

Mickey Mantle. Ted Williams. Joe Dimaggio. They were the legends on the cards you could never afford… until now!

This Wednesday Night live at 11pm EST on Don West of is going to shock the sportscard collecting world with unthinkable deals on individual cards of some of the greatest baseball players to ever step on the field!

There’s no middleman folks, which means Don can bring you INSANE prices on these once in a lifetime deals. You won’t want to miss it as Don gives back to the collecting world with this INSANE hour of deals. Be sure to follow Don on and as he leaks more details on what’s sure to be a crazy night!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Panini's Response

With regards to the Panini PR statement concerning the Sam Bradford Mirror Black 1/1 Parallel from Certified, I can honestly no better sum up my feelings on the subject than this post by Steven Judd.

Restoring Value to the Memorabilia Card

Many factors have contributed to the downfall of the once well sought after and highly valued memorabilia card. To say that memorabilia/relic cards have become passe is certainly an understatement. Instead of being a highly desirable collectible as in years past, they have been relegated to "just another insert" status by many collectors, and for good reason.

Be it the cryptic ambiguity of the wording on the back of the card designating the origin of the material contained within the card itself, the over saturation of the single color swatch, particularly the dreaded white and gray varieties, or the unfortunate utilization of event used and photo shoot worn memorabilia, the reasons are numerous, known, and easily understand.

The bigger question then is simply, how do you fix it?

On last night's episode of Card Corner Club Radio the subject was discussed that there is currently an undervalued element of the game used memorabilia card market and that is game worn material cards issued during a players sophomore season. Reason being, aren't these cards technically their first legitimate game used cards and could then be considered their first memorabilia rookie card?

Think about it. The majority of relic/memorabilia cards issued during a players traditional rookie season are event used or photo shoot worn. Jerseys worn on the field, ice, or court, during their rookie year, then acquired in the off-season, eventually get utilized in future game used cards. So, shouldn't the first of those cards carry a premium compared to the non-game used cards from their rookie year?

As a card manufacturer, the marketing benefit would be a simple and attractive means of promoting a product containing the first official game used cards from the rookie class of year xxxx.

Just thinking out loud.

I like game used cards because I feel they do connect you closer to the player. I'll never be able to afford complete jerseys of my favorite players but thanks to memorabilia cards, I can own a piece.