Tins vs Boxes: My SPA Manifesto

After busting 5 boxes of SP Authentic last week, all I can say is that there is no reason for all those stupid ass base cards. Numbered rookies, autos and patches aside, there is little among the rest of the five billion cards that makes me like the product more than I already do. This forces me to ask the question of why these cards are even included in a product like SPA?

I think I finally realized the greatness of a tin based product a few years ago when Sweet Spot switched to tin format. Instead of 24 packs of useless cardboard, the easily searched product switched over to a one pack box. The previous box had 2 helmet autos, and now the tin had 2 helmet autos. You get the point. What it eliminated was the need for superfluous cards, along with the need for shop owners to keep the boxes under lock and key. It also prevented what I am going through right now, or the need to find a spot for over 400 cards before I take them over to donate them.

Most of you are probably having one of two reactions to this whole situation, either extreme agreement or extreme diagreement. You either are hits collector or a base collector – sometimes a smattering of both. The reality is that football is so drastically different than baseball in terms of make up of these two groups, that its almost a different hobby all together. Where most of the baseball collectors try to build sets, or put together team or player collections of the BASE cards, Football is almost a supermajority of people who just want the hits. It stems from the history of the hobby, as well as the way baseball rookies are protrayed in products versus the way football rookies are. With baseball rookies coming up slowly, and dominated by chrome, its tougher to market them. With football rookies playing right away, people want signatures and they want them every single year. Each year a new crop comes in, and there are many more each year than any year on the diamond. It changes the game completely.

Despite this fact, we still have awesome products like SP Authentic done the way they are. Now, don’t come on here and bitch in the comments, “But sir, I collect the base!” Yes, I get that, but you are a very small group of people who do. To market to the correct demographic, its better to get an ornate tin or box, drop the price a bit, and give us the EXACT content from the normal pack out. There is little value and little need for a base set, and I will cite the constant trials and tribulations of trying to revamp the content as a reason. While the SP Authentic box hit has been the same for a decade, the base set has gone through many variations. Its because no one cares about it. They may whine a little if its gone, but eventually the people will proclaim their happiness on camera when not having to open 24 packs.

In addition to this, Topps is gone, so there is no need to compete with products like Chrome, which require a base set. Therefore, they can easily change the format, put products like SPA on the shelf in mass quantities, and not worry about the hit focused football hobby running away to stale and unoriginal products like Platinum and Unique. Panini already does Limited, which is immensely popular, and BACK to a one pack box after a year back doing the old way. Look how popular that product is. I guarantee more of the 2009 product was sold than the 2008, as it is easier to stock, easier to break, and easier to VIDEOTAPE.

Without getting into the argument of collecting hits against collecting sets, the thing is that more people are like me. Im not saying that they should ditch sets like Philadelphia, but I am definitely saying that upper mid range products like SP Authentic do not need 100+ base cards per box. It just doesn’t make sense when the product is marketed to the high end hit collector. Its why the hits are worth as much as they are, so why keep up the stupid façade? Therefore, ditch the fucking base.