In the last few days I have been talking a lot about what the card companies need to do. Today I am going to talk about getting rid of the autograph and memorabilia cards in the low end and mid level products. There really is no need for these products anymore. If the companies, set aside the “hits” for the high end products, then they could lower the cost of the low end products.
Think about this scenario, a card company decides to resurrect an old brand that had been laid to rest a long time ago. Collectors get word about this product and the blogosphere starts buzzing about this rejuvenated product. The sell sheet drops and collectors are drooling at the possibilities of getting their hands on these cards. Then what happens? Slowly the price point is leaked and the product is going to cost over $200 a box. Collectors get pissed and let their opinions be know. The product goes down as one of the biggest flops in the company’s history. The company was Topps and the product was Stadium Club.
Topps could have had a monster product on their hands and they screwed it up by making what should have been a medium range product selling for $70 – $80 a hobby box and turned it into a $200 a box product thus killing any mass desire for the product. The product was loaded with all the goodies. They averaged 12 autographed cards per box, including 6 rookie autographs, 1 Yankees Memorabilia card, 12 numbered rookie cards, and 12 numbered parallel cards.
The problem was that the average collector who wanted to collect Stadium Club couldn’t lay out $200 per box. Then why not the high end collectors? They simply didn’t care. To them Stadium Club was an inferior product that they just didn’t care or want to collect. So what happened? Hobby dealers who originally thought this product would jump off the shelves picked up a few cases. Then the reality hit them, Topps grossly miscalculated their demographics. The product can now for less than $140 on eBay. The dealers just want to unload it and take the hit so that they don’t lose to much.
The way this blogger sees it, the card companies have to start realizing that the masses don’t care about autographs of middle relievers or guys that are never going to make it. They are sick and tired of gray and white swatches of jerseys. What the masses want are value for their purchase, a nicely designed card, an expansive set and some chrome inserts. Most of all the masses don’t want to pay more than $40 for a box (hobby or otherwise). Forget the blasters and instead, sell the cereal box packs of cards and hobby boxes in the box box stores. I can’t tell you how worthless the blasters are.
If Topps did their homework, they would have realized that if they price pointed Stadium Club at $70 a box, they would have had a hit. Collectors are getting more finicky and kids don’t even care about cards. Topps tried to bring in the kids by creating Attax, like Magic for baseball. The truth is that kids are more savvy than we were in the past, you can no longer put crap in a blaster and cross your fingers that they buy it. It’s not working, and truth be told, I don’t know what would work, but then again I am not a media marketer.
I guess all this babbling is leading me down one path and that is get rid of the memorabilia and autographs. There is no thrill to it anymore. No one gets giddy about an autograph of Michael Bourne or Dioner Navarro. I also think people are sick of the jersey swatches and manufactured patches as well. Just look up manufactured, no autographed patches on eBay, they are running between $1 – $5, just worthless. Someday the card companies might figure this out, the first one that does will dominate the industry, the ones that won’t veer away from the norm is destined to fail or get swallowed up by the successful companies.