We all know the events of the past four or five months, Beckett and Panini have basically declared their sloppy love for each other, even going pretty far in showing that relationship off to the public. Although its pretty sickening to me, not many people know how deep that love really is.
It starts with tiny stuff, like Beckett receiving boxes weeks ahead of their release, and larger amounts exclusive info here and there. For each of the last Panini releases, Beckett has gotten boxes up to ten to fifteen days ahead of the street date, some of them with pretty nice stuff in it. You may remember that after the hype machine behind the school colors on card autos, Beckett pulled a Percy Harvin, a card I have yet to see being offered to the public. Although it wasnt a huge dollar pull, it was a card from an overhyped, ugly product that needed a little push. I rarely believe these things to be a coincidence.
Of course, this was after the massive amounts of exclusive previews that Beckett receives directly from Panini, sometimes needlessly so. Its almost like they are providing Beckett with these things to try to show people that when it comes to news, Beckett is it, despite the fact that are continually out-scooped by the blogs. Add in that stories are consistently ripped off of the people who do it for fun, and you see why this practice is necessary. Beckett is basically facing the fact that message boards and blogs are now the number one source for hobby news, and they are left with Wrestling cards and promises of finding love for lonely collectors.
What people arent familiar with is that Scott Prusha of Panini Marketing, and Tracy Hackler have been best friends since Prusha started his career with Beckett media. In fact, Prusha and Hackler have such a close relationship, that Hackler was the best man at Prusha’s wedding. To think that these two people have teamed together to boost each of the products the other offers, doesnt seem like so much of a stretch anymore. Not only that, but it may be the evidence people are looking for when it comes to establishing the link between Panini and Beckett’s coexistance.
Its also kind of interesting that Panini products have been hailed by Beckett Football as the best of the year so far, even though there are less than 10 total products from three companies on the market. Plus, the UD products have made the Panini products look like they were done by people who didnt know what the fuck they were doing, so the title of best of the year seems like a huge stretch. Why else would that be the case other than pure favoritism?
The reason that I focus on this so much is because of what it means for average collectors, who may not spend the time on the blogs. They see Beckett as a legit news source, when really it is just advertising for their buddies. Im guessing that prices for Panini will also be higher this year despite the “market analysts” they have, yeah fucking right. I would go so far as saying that new collectors may be so jaded on this that Panini sales are above where they actually should be, despite the already poor performance they have had on the primary and secondary markets.
Lastly, we already know that Beckett and Panini have had and will have events together that showcase the relationship they have built. There have also been multiple sources that have told me that Panini reps will be at Beckett’s national booth, and vice versa. So, based on that information, isnt it safe to say that a company like Panini should not be supported the way that other companies are? I dont remember hearing anything about a Topps/Tuff Stuff relationship where both companies worked together to help the other out.
See, when you present yourself as an objective news source and price guide for the hobby, relationships like the one Panini and Beckett have should not be fucking tolerated. Bottom line. The problem is that Beckett has no responsibility to the people they consider to be their reader base, so they end up doing some of the douchebaggiest things since UD printed extra griffey rookies on the weekends. Sadly, the people they hurt are not the type of people that read SCU and Wax Heaven, but rather the collectors who dont have those opportunities. Each kid who picks up a Beckett forms an opinion, some of those opinions being ones entirely based on the info they read. I know I did as a kid. With that information and those opinions, new ideas are formed, most of which are based on lies.
Ask yourself, are these the type of people you want to support?