Im going to preface this review by saying that Clear Vision Football isnt set to come out until 7/24, which is this week. However, my shop in San Antonio was given a sneak peak of the product by Panini, and the cards from that break have started to show up on eBay. As expected, the results are not pretty.
Check out this garbage:
2015 Clear Vision Marcus Mariota Jumbo Acetate Auto /25
2015 Clear Vision Amari Cooper Acetate Relic Auto /35
2015 Clear Vision Johnny Manziel Acetate C-THRU /50
2015 Clear Vision Bryce Petty Jumbo Acetate Auto /50 – Case hit everyone!
Clear Vision looks to be a type of experimental product that only makes sense in the warped mind of the Panini brass. Instead of experimenting with cool technology and interesting design work, Panini wanted to see how much content they could remove from a box before people wouldnt buy it.
A box of Clear Vision is set to retail at around 60 bucks per box. For that 60 bucks, you get a bunch of acetate cards and one hit. That hit, 8 out of 9 times will be a non-autograph. For that 9th time, you will get an autograph that has around a 40-50% chance at being a top tier guy. The remaining autographs are still good, but not great. For the 8 boxes that are not autographs, the majority of them will be shitty relic cards, some of which include some pretty laughable names.
To put this in perspective, this is like opening packs of Absolute Football. Well, its like opening packs of absolute football that cost 20 dollars more, and have autographs less than 50% of what is available in the four pack format. Worth noting that Absolute was one of the lowest selling products of the year. Unlike Absolute, to pull an autograph from Clear Vision, you could end up spending 480 dollars and still not get lucky. You could end up with boxes full of this junk.
What Panini is banking on, is that their other cards in the product will make up for it, and that the people buying it and buying it in bulk are going to ignore that they are being taken to the cleaners in the process. Yes, you can spend 240 bucks, get four boxes (which is where I draw the line between diving in head first and just sampling what the product is all about), and end up with relics that will not sell for the .99 cents plus 2.50 shipping come three weeks after release. Yes, Panini actually built a product that wont be able to be broken unless you get it on day one – or in this case, a few weeks early.
Its worth mentioning that the initial prices for Clear Vision singles are high – but this is for a few cases broken so far ahead of release. I think its kind of funny that someone paid what they paid for Tony Romo – when you can buy an on card auto patch from a better looking product for much less. As well all know things get crazy for previews. When something is exclusive, holy shit, collectors will go nuts trying to be the first and fastest person to get their hands on the cards they want. We are so obsessed with posting mailday threads on Blowout that we will pay through the nose to get the cards.
Clear Vision “boasts on card autographs“, but they are only telling half of the truth. On card to me, is the player having the card and signing it. Panini had them sign acetate sheets, which are then inserted into the cards at a later date.
For all those rookie cards, Panini took so much time getting these acetate inserts signed at the 2015 Rookie Premiere, that they avoided actually getting hard signed autographs for their main sets. This could lead to a few situations, including a metric shit ton of sticker autographs for rookies in Panini products this year, and potential redemptions down the road.
What we are left with is a product where half of the card is obscured by a window needed hold the acetate window, and done in a way that looks really odd and unbalanced. Some of these cards are actually a bite on a design from Topps Triple Threads, of all places, believe it or not. Shocking, I know that Panini would copy something and blow it out of proportion.
The transparency cards from Triple Threads were done in a horizontal way, where you didnt have to slice the player off at the waste like Panini is doing here. Regardless, these cards sold terribly, and never really were a hit with collectors. People just dont see value in these types of sticker replacements – even when Topps does a better job incorporating the acetate into the look of the card. They also didnt use goofy ass posed head shots as a background.
Panini has struggled mightily with this over the last few years and it continues to baffle me why people continue to support the sets at release, only to abandon them once better looking stuff is released from other companies. There is a reason why Panini’s stuff tanks as it ages, which is only more in the cards for a product that offers such a huge deficit in content.
There are people who cite “Well, I would rather get a big auto per case, than a bunch of extra rookies that no one cares about.” I completely and wholeheartedly reject this. This mentality requires multiple purchases of boxes, up until the point of buying until you hit the autograph. We are slowly losing people who have the desire and the means to do this – especially when it usually costs less just to buy the card you want. Secondly, if content outside of the autograph were more special, instead of just another bloated excuse to use acetate, maybe things would be a bit different. Panini does not provide that in this product AT ALL, save one design.
I personally believe that adding more autographs per box adds a perceived value that doesnt exist in the other content. Chrome can put out a one autograph per box set, because it has built years and years of legacy around the value of low numbered refractors. Clear vision has none of that brand loyalty.
Lastly, slotting autographs at one per case, should free up a ton of money to spend on other aspects of the set. Relic content should be insane. Technology should be better. Everything can take a step up. Panini chose to use the money to print every card on acetate (which is expensive and superfluous) and pack it out in needless plastic boxes (same). Its worth mentioning that adding additional content of top signers may have overtook all the money saved by removing scrubs, but we will never know.
Everything about this product pisses me off. It shouldnt. I shouldnt feel disgust and rage over a product, I should be able to just choose something else to collect. The problem is, I see this type of product development and I am constantly reminded that next year, there likely wont be a choice. I wont have the option to get the personal enjoyment of that choice. Panini has stolen that joy from me. Panini is cultivating a environment that builds product to end up below dealer cost. They arent even shy about it. Hey local shop – you know that collector that just walked away with the auto from the case? Now you have to sell the rest of the boxes knowing they are likely going to be crappy jerseys. Have fun! By the way, we will be asking you to take on more cases of this when you want to order a product that actually sells well.
Panini is a virus. I have no reason to think that pending exclusive wont end up in a spectacular flaming wreck, mangled on the side of the highway. Multiple casualties likely.