Panini has made it a point to have the best NSCC giveaways of any of the companies at the show, and for the most part, they have succeeded in generating buzz online about the cards in the packs. Over the last few years, aside from some odd photo choices, I have really liked their designs and have picked up a few singles here and there.
There are always two flavors of cards each year, with silver packs and one type of card used for wrapper redemptions for the general public, and gold packs with Chrome cards for those attending the VIP party.
Here are some of the top hits from this year’s gold pack set:
2017 Panini VIP Party Aaron Judge Auto /25
2017 Panini VIP Party Lonzo Ball Diamond Auto 1/1
2017 Panini VIP Party Andrew Luck Auto /5
2017 Panini VIP Party Cody Bellinger Auto /25
My question has always focused on whether the party was worth ponying up the crazy amount of dough to attend? The first year or two was small and had some big names in attendance. You could get close to the players and they signed their stuff in front of people. Since then, things have changed, with some players not looking to participate in the actual party and photos being signed ahead of time.
The photos do go for good money for the one or two big names who attend:
2017 Panini VIP Party Lonzo Ball Signed 8×10
Similarly, the cost to attend has changed too, increasing in product bought at the show. However, they have added a number of extras to the pile of stuff as well, with more Silver and Gold packs for each attendee, a black box per person, and a fun night with food and drinks.
I think its a give and take all around. You might have to end up ripping a ton of product you dont necessarily want to. But you get all of those cards to sell. Similarly, VIP gold packs fetch about 15-20 a piece, and many attendees just sold their whole rake for a lump sum.
This year’s design was awful looking and plain, and had a lot of weird photos of the players. However, Judge, Bellinger, Lonzo Ball, and others have some autographs that are going to go for a considerable value. In the VIP boxes, they have special diamond cards, with autographed 1/1 parallels, and those have already been generating a nice little buzz on their own.
Overall, I think the people who go to this really dont really mind the cost. They are either big dealers who can move the product, or whales that have the cash to burn. I get that you have to keep your fans happy, but at some point I question whether the party is actually necessary. The cost to put it all together is better served to make everything else better around the company, right? Hell, just hand out the gold packs, the black boxes and the signed photos on the show floor and I think many of the people who go to the event might not even care. There are some who will, but a lot of things could be improved with that budget.
Its clear this party isnt going anywhere, and my skepticism isnt going to change the way people feel about it. The least I can hope for is hard signed VIP autographs instead of stickers some year, and a nice looking design I can pick up on the secondary market if so desired.