As I sat reading about Topps extending their exclusive deal till 2020 I had to chuckle at many things Topps said in response. Topps stated the following: "Having a long-term deal and a long-term partnership allows you to invest in the business and plan the business." When I read just that one sentence this is exactly what I hear, "suck it Upper Deck and Panini!". Topps needed to ensure it had an exclusive rights to logos to ensure it can invest even more into the hobby. Plus they "JUST NOW" wanted kids to get back into collecting. JUST NOW Topps is worried about "planning the their business". We are going to be going on year 4 of the MLB exclusive rights, and they are just now stating they want to make more kid friendly cards? I'm going to say that again, Topps needs to invest more money into making more kids friendly cards. What about all that money they put into products like Five Star (and their little club), and all the other dozen or so products they make. How about instead of making a Heritage High Series 100 card set that nobody liked, and make "three" kids sets for the same money? I don't buy that Topps needed an exclusive deal to still keep making money, but I'm sure to keep the MLB happy by throwing out one or two kids sets.
If Panini was able to make MLB cards, I'm sure they can make a pack of cards called "Score" for 99 cents they do for the NFL. Upper Deck almost every year made a kid friendly card, Collectors Choice, MVP, and First Edition just to name a few. Yes Topps makes "Opening Day" but that is nothing more than a Topps basecard with Opening Day on it. Not too original there. I would expect now that Topps has inked a deal to 2020, we may see some more boring designs, lack of editing, repeating players, and yes...EVEN MORE GIMMICKS!
It sounds that I'm being hard on Topps, but I am growing bored in a hobby that I love. I have grown more and more bored during the time that Topps has produced almost every set at every card shop or retail outlet. At least in 2008 when I went to Target I had maybe a dozen different products to choose from in Baseball Cards. Today we have one or maybe two depending what month it is. Then for the rest of the year you still see those same three brands of blasters that a part of you just wants to smash them. (I wouldn't really smash them, I would open them first!) Another reason I don't like an exclusive deals, it tends to make card shops shelves bare and boring. (at least near where I live)
What does this exclusive deal mean to me? I used to buy three blaster boxes a week, now I buy one a month. I will still check out one or two blasters per product, but I will let the deep pockets pay all that money then I will just pick and choose those cards I need. Since the exclusive deal I would estimate I spent 25-50% less on cards last year than I did before 2010. This year I have spent 50-75% less than I did before 2010. I understand there are many collectors out there that no matter what will still spend a bunch no matter the brands. Ever since 2013 started, I have thought about hanging up my "card sleeves" for greener pastures. Lets hope it really does get better, because I hope this exclusive deal doesn't kill the hobby any more!