If you have been reading this site for the last few weeks, you have seen how much I dislike what is happening with the events relating to the 2014 Industry Summit coming up in Las Vegas. Although the summit was conceived as a way for Shop owners and dealers to commiserate and get best practices, it hasnt exactly seemed like that was the main focus anymore. Number one with a bullet has been getting giveaways to pay for the trip. Aside from the swag, from my perspective and the perspective of attendees over the last few years, its become more about the companies vomiting information from every inch of the show floor. Of course, survival tactics are still shared, but the real purpose of this event is no longer near the top.
Here are some of the giveaways from previous years. You can see what I mean:
Even crazier is that the Summit has banned Leaf and ITG, among others from participating, which means that the focus of the event is even further left of center than normal. I dont get it anymore. Its a bastardization of what it was meant to be. Leaf even had some of the better giveaways, which is going to piss some eager attendees off.
Many of the companies have started to leak the previews of their summit giveaways, and for the most part they are pretty cool. While Upper Deck is in the midst of their 25th anniversary, and bringing their version of the famous black box, that is just the beginning. Panini is taking a football focus with the Green Parallel of Select Football, which was made popular at the summit last year for basketball.
Press Pass, somehow not banned in the licensing fiasco that has ensnared the other unlicensed companies, is releasing a set of unlicensed football cards for the upcoming 2014 draft. Seriously. I cant make this shit up. Where Leaf and ITG were banned for not being licensed, Press Pass is giving away cards that fall under exactly that. Who are the ad wizards that came up with that one?
These types of giveaways are used to fund the trip of the owners that attend, and then some. One guy who emailed me last year said he walked away with 2000 dollars worth of swag on a trip that cost him 800. Not a bad haul, especially when you see how much some of this stuff sells for. Should that be the focus of a struggling shop just trying to survive? I guess. Should it be the only reason they attend? No. With successful shops from all over the country coming to this show, this is the time to build a business plan, not listen to the verbal diarrhea coming out of the company presentations, only to get in line for the next giveaway. Every last piece of information delivered by any company at the summit will be available through other sources. No need to waste time there, yet that’s where everyone gravitates to.
That's not saying I dont like the cards, as most of the exclusives are interesting giveaways. Look at some of the stuff UD is giving out! Pretty nuts, and Panini has a history of some great stuff too. Considering how much they sell for, I understand why people want to spend the time to get them. The issue is that it can detract from the true motives of why someone should attend. Keep that in mind.