The day of reckoning is here for all those Panini fans who are salivating over the release of Flawless football. This is the first time in football that a box of this nature has been released, and from what the early results are showing, singles arent white hot like we expected. In fact, I have no reservations in saying this may be one of the better singles products of the year. However, I still think it is a pending disaster to put it at 1350 a box.
Here are some of the hits up so far – BIN prices seem awfully low for first day:
There are people who are going to cite the fact that there are some cards in the product that will sell for above 1350. That is true. These same people will cite success in basketball as an indicator for success in football. This is not true. When you consider the complete checklist, and the normal shelf life (or lack there of) for football products, the prices for the boxes and singles will not meet the hype at all. A price tag of this magnitude puts Flawless in a category that is usually reserved for mortgages and car payments. Basketball’s international market and hobby composition is much more suited for this type of release, and in its second year, it is already failing to meet expectations. That should say a lot about prospects for football.
High end has always been a huge risk. Always. Since 2005, you could open a box of Exquisite football and lose your ASS on the cards inside. However, that was a 500 dollar bath, not a $1350 bath. Those are two very different things. In all reality, with a case, you could end up losing on the ROI so badly that it would be equal to a case of 95% of the other products on the calendar. That is just insane, especially in a sport where there is no international support or as many collectors with deep pockets.
The bottom line is that contrived scarcity, or purposefully limiting supply, can only take something so far. There has to be a level of chase above all that, and Basketball is reeling this year from that situation. Football is in a bigger jam with a rookie class that isnt playing up to the expectations set early in the draft year. Obviously, Panini has ZERO control over these factors, and from what I am hearing, they are also not the ones to jack up the price upon release.
Dealers were able to purchase flawless at 800 dollars per. Mock distributors like Blowout and Dave and Adam’s likely got it even cheaper. Panini intended this to be a 1000 dollar product, which is still insane, but not "toss you in a padded room and throw away the key" insane. For whatever reason, one of the distributors decided it was a good idea to arbitrarily mark up the price 350 dollars above the intended price and set it at $1350 per box, effectively RUINING the potential it had.
I think if you set the price at $1000, and let demand climb to a 1350 tag, you create a different perception of what the VALUE of the box really is. An increase of 350 dollars from MSRP suggests that there is something worth DEMANDING in those boxes, so much so that the price has gone up. If you start it at 1350, the perception is different. It changes things. Look at 2012 National Treasures, which climbed to about 150-200 dollars above the release price at one point. Everyone was clamoring to get it, because Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and RGIII were playing out of their mind. It was STILL moving at 650 a box. If the dealers had started it at 750? Not a chance would it have performed the same way.
It is abundantly clear that the on card autographs for this set are incredible. The cards look great, save this stupid "Team Panini" bullshit. That has value in itself. However, the market at its current point cannot sustain a product like this. I HOPE I am wrong. I want to be wrong, because it will be a sign that the market isnt in as bad a shape as I thought. All signs so far point to the fact that Flawless was not done the right way after the cards were already in the boxes. I cant blame Panini for that. At some point you have to try to make Flawless work in another sport. Your 20 million dollar license depends on creating brand equity that Panini does not own anywhere but Contenders and Treasures. On a calendar of 24-30 products, you had better fucking figure out how to build a good set.
When the dealers take it into their own hands, with borderline collusion to make it work, that’s bad for everyone.