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Upper Deck Overhauls Its Distribution Program
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There's been some talk in the sports card world regarding an e-mail Upper Deck sent to retailers and distributors last week. They're clarifying some of the items here on this blog entry:

Upper Deck Answers Questions on New Streamlined Distribution Program

There appears to be no word in this about non-sports/entertainment. Upper Deck has at least three upcoming non-sport releases and one might assume that these changes cover non-sports as well.
 
Posts: 12936 | Location: Harrisburg, PA, USA | Registered: November 29, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If this does impact non-sport cards it's a disaster for non-sport collectors.

Quite simply I don't know a single non-sport card dealer who has a brick and mortar shop (I could be wrong). . . so it sounds like none of the non-sport card dealers would be able to sell UD products until it is 90 days old.

So the options then are sports card dealers or, potentially comic shops. . .

While I totally agree that the distribution model for trading cards is broken this really seems misguided when thinking about non-sport cards. . . for sports cards, perhaps this is ok. . . but everyone who is in the hobby understands the difference, and if they don't (i.e. 95% of sports card dealers) they shouldn't be selling it.

Jon
 
Posts: 4625 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was talking to someone else about that point too. We were talking about dealers who do the Philly Show specifically and off-hand, I could think of just two dealers who do the Philly Show who have brick and mortar stores. There may be more though -- I was going by memory alone, I could only come up with two. I suspect both sell more lots more sports in their shops then non-sports though they both probably carry a lot of non-sports too. More then the average sports card store.

I really do wonder if these same rules will apply to non-sports/entertainment.
 
Posts: 12936 | Location: Harrisburg, PA, USA | Registered: November 29, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree, we don't need the limited amount of good dealers that we already have getting shut out of new releases because they don't have a store, I would guess that 85% of the active dealers for sportscards don't have stores, they sell at shows on weekends and have a customer base that they either deliver to at shows or through the mail. One of the remaining few sportcard stores in my area just shut down, they can't make a living selling cards and pay for retail space. I think this will not turn out well for Upper Deck in the long run, they seem to be living in the past a bit with this "brick and mortor" thinking.

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Posts: 5686 | Location: Brielle, NJ | Registered: April 03, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As a lucky card collector who has a local brick and mortar hobby store I would be very interested to see how well UD's revamped distribution works and if it will make other card manufacturers fix their own distributers. The fact is its a mess to find products, especially odd niche stuff and highly limited products. Now that premium packs are becoming the in-thing, its only going to get harder for people who don't pre-order or can't afford to bulk order.

Having said that, I think UD may be too late on this and I hope that doesn't mean automatic failure. UD is nowhere near what it used to be and this program is not really new. When UD commanded the premium sportscard market it could make its dealers buy at least some of its entire line, plus dictate minimum order amounts, which is exactly what it did. Then the internet came along, hobby stores closed and the distribution system broke down for everyone.

Right now UD is not acting from a position of power. As has been mentioned, there aren't many hobby shops open anymore and UD itself has very few licenses left due to its own practices. It has to turn to non-sport, it has to sell to licensed dealers that people can find, and most important it has to make products that collectors want.

It should be interesting to see how this evolves in the coming months. There really is a distribution problem, but I don't know that UD is big enough right now to solve it.
 
Posts: 8116 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My understanding is that it does cover Entertainment i.e. Non-Sport cards as well - though most of UD's business is of course Sport than NonSport it likely has a whole lot more to do with their Sport product.

The potential big winners in this are of course Brick & Mortar stores. For them wouldn't it be great if everyone buying online all of a sudden started seeking out their local comic and/or sports card shop, walking in and asking the store to order in a box of the newest UD Hobby NonSport set?

@ Batman - as you say many stores are having a hard time making a living selling cards and paying for retail space, perhaps this will be a small step in keeping more local shops in business?

otim

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Posts: 700 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: May 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by otim:
My understanding is that it does cover Entertainment i.e. Non-Sport cards as well - though most of UD's business is of course Sport than NonSport it likely has a whole lot more to do with their Sport product.


UD has lost most, if not all, of its pro sport licenses.
 
Posts: 8116 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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True, of the four 'big' professional sports licensess - Baseball, Football, Basketball & Hockey they share the rights to make NHL Hockey cards with Panini and do not have any licenses for the other three.

They are however, in addition to the NHL/NHLPA licensed hockey sets, producing some sports sets that aren't (in the case of baseball) MLB or MLBPA licensed, etc.

otim

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Posts: 700 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: May 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
@ Batman - as you say many stores are having a hard time making a living selling cards and paying for retail space, perhaps this will be a small step in keeping more local shops in business?


I agree with the thinking, but there are no stores anymore, the two that are within reasonable driving distance for me have absolutely no non-sports cards, and again, because they have to pay rent, the prices of packs or boxes are much higher than internet sellers. I live on the Jersey Shore, and it's often referred to as the tri-state area, as we are between New York and Philadelphia. We were once booming with card shops all over the area, but those days are long gone. If they can't make it here, how can they survive in more rural areas? It's too little, too late. On-line sales are the salvation of cards, sports and non-sports, not the cause of the problem, in my opinion.

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Posts: 5686 | Location: Brielle, NJ | Registered: April 03, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So the question is, when you're used to buying your cards online from your trusted dealer, and you can't anymore, do you seek out your local shop, or stop buying altogether?

otim

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Posts: 700 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: May 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by otim:
So the question is, when you're used to buying your cards online from your trusted dealer, and you can't anymore, do you seek out your local shop, or stop buying altogether?

otim


Neither -- buying locally isn't really an option for me -- even in the Chicago suburbs, the nearest shop is too far away to go to regularly so they won't stock product, and it's too much of a pain to order -- it's just as easy to order online from a brick and mortar shop than to shop locally.

I'll just wait until the sports card shops that are forced to buy a little of every product dump what non-sport they have to buy in order to be able to buy the premium UD stuff.

This model may have worked in the mid 1990s when there were shops everywhere, but there just aren't shops anymore, and UDs distribution shenanigans aren't going to fix anything in non-sport at this point. In fact it will likely make things worse as product becomes even harder to find.

Jon
 
Posts: 4625 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I didn't realise that 'the sports card shops...are forced to buy a little of every product'. That doesn't appear to be the case up here in Canada at least?

otim

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Posts: 700 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: May 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by otim:
I didn't realise that 'the sports card shops...are forced to buy a little of every product'. That doesn't appear to be the case up here in Canada at least?

otim


Not always, but certain companies allocate product based on previous orders. So, if you don't order the risky entertainment product, you can't get the next super hot sports product.

Jon
 
Posts: 4625 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by webjon:

Not always, but certain companies allocate product based on previous orders. So, if you don't order the risky entertainment product, you can't get the next super hot sports product.

Jon


That was indeed part of the UD policy way back when. Dealers were alloted product, they had to take some of the slow movers in order to get the hot boxes and that was not right. The difference now is that I'm not sure UD has many hot products and there are a whole lot less hobby stores, so let's see how many distributors are on the UD list when its released.

Distribution is broke though and remaining hobby shops could use some help, so maybe this will shake it up a little for other manufacturers, even if it is not the solution.
 
Posts: 8116 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are 12 (some with multiple locations) listed on UD's website now:

http://www.upperdeckb2b.com/distributor_locator.aspx

otim

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Posts: 700 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: May 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I can state for the record this this DOES include entertainment product and dealers.

As it stands when the new policy takes hold I will not be able to buy ANY Upper Deck product from any of my distributors.

Also, in the dealer agreement you have to agree not to 'wholesale' product to others for resale. I'm told the orders will be bar coded so they can track who originally bought the product.

And to make matters worse, if you don't buy through an authorized Upper Deck Dealer, you CANNOT get any customer service for the product you bought. No damage replacements and no making up for missing hits. Dealers are required to give customers a receipt when they purchase UD products.

This is a disaster for show dealers. I'm working to try to get a show-dealer exception for entertainment products. But I'm betting I'm too small a fish for them to deal with.

Ed

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Posts: 4744 | Location: Phoenix, AZ | Registered: March 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They don't have much in the way of NS listed on their website.
Marvel Super Hero Squad (I have only seen at the Dollar Tree)
Marvel Iron Man 2 Coming Soon (Dated May of 2010!)

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Posts: 1159 | Location: Just NW of Hazzard County Georgia USA | Registered: December 08, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another Dick move from Upper Deck? I am shocked.

quote:
Bricks and Mortar stores are important to the hobby but only as far as the market will support them.. this is akin to publishers saying we will not sell books to Amazon because they are harming the real Bricks and Mortar book shop… the life blood of the hobby is NOT a shop it is the collectors, the consumers who spend money on your price fixed products drive the hobby. The delivery method by which they obtain the cards is much less relevant and intervening to harm one method while propping up another is an anathema to free market economics. Card shops are NOT to big to fail. Don’t get me wrong I like card shops I think we should have more of them, and if enough people think like that we will, but putting folks out of the market to force people into card shops is not how this should work.


That was said by a very wise man last year when Panini started making moves to do this. Upper Deck are propping up shops because they want total control over there products even after they have been purchased. The good news is that UD has next to nothing left of real interest. I think this move will marginalize them even more.

This move is to control the prices of products for three months. They want no online dealers in the first 90 days, if your found selling them outside your shop then you are banned from buying UD products. It's a bad move for collectors and in the long run shops who will be under a lot more UD control if they want to stock the products. If your a loyal customer who hasn't got a shop they just said screw you, you dont count because you dont conform to the UD outdated definition of a dealer.

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Posts: 884 | Location: UK | Registered: October 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by EriktheArchitect:
They don't have much in the way of NS listed on their website.
Marvel Super Hero Squad (I have only seen at the Dollar Tree)
Marvel Iron Man 2 Coming Soon (Dated May of 2010!)


They may not have it listed on their website but they have at least three non-sport products coming: Marvel Beginnings, Thor, and Captain America.
 
Posts: 12936 | Location: Harrisburg, PA, USA | Registered: November 29, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Based on waht Ed has told us, I think Upper Deck has set itself up to fail with their entertainment products. The sportcard stores that do exist rarely carry non-sports cards anyway, so who will they be selling these upcoming products to? If they prevent honest dealers like Ed from participating simply because they don't have a store, that's ridiculous, who will be selling these cards? How will that help anyone, including Upper Deck? Confused

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Posts: 5686 | Location: Brielle, NJ | Registered: April 03, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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