With the release of 2013 Playbook football, we got our first true taste of high end price points, and by most accounts, not many people have opened it. Although 2013 Momentum was similarly high end, it was a product that was released prior to the season’s real beginning. Now that we have seen how little the 2013 rookies have separated themselves from the pack, it will breed a curiosity of whether high end has a place in 2013.
There are some very high end pulls, but not much of the product has been opened:
The funny thing is, Playbook does have some of the nicest rookie autographs of the year so far. There is no doubt many of the big pulls look really, really nice. In most of the cases, design isnt the problem here. We can say that the set has had problems catching on over the last three years, but its not a result of shitty looking cards. This year has been a struggle across the board, with very few people wanting to take the plunge on a 180 dollar box of cards, where 95% of the pulls wont net you back 25% of your investment. You can even pull the top rookies in the class and not get back half your money. That is bad.
When considering this information, what is going to happen when releases like Five Star and National Treasures come out? 2012 was a banner year for both products, but I doubt there will be cards like this for 2013. Im guessing that the veteran and HOF content in both will carry a large portion of the box’s value, but this cant be a good sign for things to come. Is it possible that 2013 eventually goes down as the worst year in the modern era of cards? Its definitely closer to reality now than ever. Although there are some very good things going on in the sets this year, without on field performance, design does little. Couple that with the fact that very few products offer something unique or innovative, and it makes it even more difficult to support this year’s calendar.
I think that products like Topps Chrome and Panini Contenders will have a place at the table, but products like Limited and Triple Threads could definitely get killed out there. Both Chrome and Contenders have a loyal following of people, and a box price that isnt murder on the wallet. However, they are both 100% supported by rookie content along the way. Obviously that will have an effect.
To be successful in a year like this, the companies should make a huge investment in non-rookie content. The more non-rookie autographs and relics that grace the product's checklist, the more successful the product will likely be. Playbook has some very nice veteran content, but its almost all redemptions on the autograph side, and the relics are 1 per case. Not very good odds.
If I owned a store right now, I would be pretty scared for the close of the year on the football side. The baseball side has Yasiel Puig, which helps to sell baseball, but there is no equivalent this year on the football side. Additionally, there is just nothing to say that any of the products will be a worthwhile buy on the collector side, and that means it will be hard to continue selling through things on the dealer side as well. I am a huge fan of Topps Five Star, but even I am preparing myself for very few boxes being opened. Its just impossible to spend 500 bucks on a box that has more likelihood of returning 100 bucks than anything.