If you check blowoutcards.com presell basketball page, you'll find a blank page. There is nothing. There isn't a single thing you could do today to ever PRE-purchase a new basketball card. Sure, you could go to Panini's blog and read several articles about how excited Tracy Hackler is about upcoming basketball releases, but until there's wax on the market, all the talk in the world is worthless.
When Panini scored a coup and took the NBA license from Upper Deck and Topps, I was bummed - but if anybody goes back through the years of my blog, you'll see that I was more than supportive of a company looking to make its mark in the hobby. I liked their first release. It was a collectible basketball release - it was a prototype "Series One" style release for Panini; and they haven't made a followup to that release since. There is nothing to tether yourself to in Panini's version of basketball cards.
As time went on, after the free boxes started rolling in from Panini, I began to realize that there was nothing of substance that made me want to continue to collect their basketball cards. And as the layers of fluff and sticker autos began to be peeled back, we were left with a vision of a turn-style team that connected Panini and Beckett into a hype-machine that does nothing to benefit the collector, but only serves to be a lifeline to a dying model of providing collectibles. I'm done.
I'm saying right now that I will not buy any products from Panini ever again. Ever. Not football, not baseball, and especially not basketball. And it's because of my love for basketball cards that I'm taking this stand.
Pardon my french here, but it has to be said. Could anybody Fuck Up an exclusivity contract with a league as badly as Panini has done with baskeball? Anyone? Anyone? No. Need proof? Go to Panini America's own website and look at their upcoming releases. 3 football and 1 hockey and nothing basketball. In fact, collector's won't get new basketball cards until "late February". Oh, and the first release to come out? A $200 pack for 4 cards.
Collector's everywhere rejoice! Start saving now and you could bust a pack that retails for $50 a card. Do they even get how back-ass-wards that is? Even when they release cards, only the whales are going to even have the funds to bust them. But as long as collecting remains in hobby shops, all will be well, right?
So today, I'm starting a letter writing campaign directly to the NBA to stop the exclusivity contract that Panini has. Will it help? Maybe not. In fact, probably not. Check that, it has 99.97% chance of failure. But even when we vote in a general election, we realize that our one vote won't elect a president. But with enough pestering, at least we can cause a discussion. At least we can let the NBA know that they have fans who would still spend money on their licensed products if they were really worthwhile.
So how do we begin? Let me lay it out there for you:
First you can write the NBA via email. And you can do that here. However, email is pretty impersonal, and a quick 'delete' will stop your voice from being heard.
The other choice is to send the NBA a direct letter. The address is:
The National Basketball Association
645 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10022
Attn: Fan Relations
- Include a sports card in your letter. Maybe an example of a wrong sticker auto, a card with severely outdated photography or simply just a horrible design. Or include a favorite card from past Topps or Upper Deck releases and show the NBA how bad it has become.
- Make your letter personal. Include details about price gouging at LCS stores. Include links to video breaks that have high percentages of redemptions.
- Let the NBA know how you feel about price points, return on investment and the lack of availability of cards now that their league is in full swing.
- Also, write to your favorite players and let them know how you feel about the Panini exclusivity contract. They're millionaires, but who knows, maybe they never thought about how shitty a sticker auto is. It couldn't hurt.
I for one will write the NBA two letters a week. It sounds childish, but I'm a fairly decent writer, and with the the COMPLETE LACK OF BASKETBALL CARDS on the market, I have a fair amount of free time.