Now that we are on the final day of the rookie premiere, I am sad that football season is still a few months away. This is the biggest event of the pre-season, but unlike some of the other events, its impact is felt throughout the whole year. Not only is this the source of most of the pictures in the products we love, but autographs and swatches alike all can be traced back to the premiere.
Think about all the swatches from rookie players over the course of the entire year. Thousands upon thousands of cards. People often wonder or are blissfully ignorant of how much swatch yield is needed to produce the kind of content that the hobby demands. The companies try to stock their inventory as much as possible and as a result, can produce both cards at the beginning of the year, and at the end. No rookie game used jersey has ever been used, as many of them are unavailable until late in the year, and can be ridiculously cost prohibitive.
Rookie jerseys are only the start of it, as there is an absolute ton of autographs signed over the course of the weekend as well. You would guess that players sign until their hands hurt, but just how many autographs are there? Based on reports, some guys can sign up to 1500 stickers and 1500-2000 cards, and that only gets them part of the way through the calendar. For some of the rookies, tracking them down for a signing can be impossible, as we have seen by the growing number of redemptions, and this event becomes vital to their content in products.
Products like Topps Inception are almost completely dependent from content signed at the rookie premiere, and stickers from this event can reach into many products that dont hit shelves until the end of the year. Its all relative to inventory, and sometimes, uncooperative players can lead to some major issues.
Now that companies are becoming more focused on obtaining hard signed content through the year, more signings are happening now than ever. That doesnt mean they dont get what they can when they can. Topps alone has two cards that are printed and signed the same weekend, and collectors tend to chase these cards as the top examples of the pre-season.
My favorite part of the whole event is the photography, as these pictures are the reason we collect. Rookie premiere photography can be used all the way through to the end of the year, as not every rookie ever makes it into a game. Injuries are common to at least one to two invitees per year, which makes these pictures the only time this year they will be in uniform. Some rookies dont even make the teams, as has been seen before, and that only causes more problems along the way.
Overall, the Premiere is incredibly important, and its easy to see why each of the companies spend so much time preparing for the grind during these four days. Whether its the rush to get cards built, or the planning out of how much they will need for their calendar, this is a difficult event to get done. Now that we see some of the ways things get done, its easy to forget why its so important.
Here are some of the more recent pics: