Despite the fact that Contenders has produced some of the worst looking modern cards I can think of, it has a legacy as the first product to really focus on RC autos. Collectors have a nostalgia attached to the product, and Panini has already taken the opportunity to exploit that legacy for the first product of its NCAA exclusive.
Yesterday at the Panini adver-talk at the Industry Summit, they previewed some of the cards from the upcoming product. To say I was shocked by their decision making is something that should not come as a surprise. Not only did they decide NOT to create a new design for the set, but they chose to go with stickers from what it looks like. This is after Upper Deck had already released a stellar product in UD Inscriptions that was live before the summit began.
Check out these UD cards:
Compare to what the Contenders mock ups look like, at what seems to be an identical price point:
In my opinion, Panini has lofty standards to meet when releasing pre-draft products while competing against companies that offer nothing but on card autographs. Seeing that this product could potentially be stickers for the rookies is a disaster. Secondly, they could have made a statement by creating a bold new look for the first of many NCAA collegiate based products, but instead they pooped out a retread of one of their ugliest versions of Contenders to date. Someone (or many of the people) at Panini just doesnt fucking get it.
We already saw some incredible work from Upper Deck and Leaf with their first products of the 2015 draft class, and we havent even seen previews from 2015 Trinity yet. To see that Panini isnt taking this seriously is a slap in the face to all the collectors who loved Upper Deck’s college products over the last five years.
For the umpteenth time, Panini has used daddy’s money to bully their way into an exclusive they didnt deserve, which only hurts collectors in the process. I hate exclusives, but at least if you make the best products and get it, its better than making inferior products and receiving the reward. Panini’s stuff is already looking like a watery pile of shit, and its only going to get worse when their NFL exclusive kicks in before the 2016 season.
Hopefully they can get some butter to lube up the opening, so that someone can forcefully remove their heads from their own asses. Im guessing that will be someone from UD or Topps that they can lure away to design better looking cards, and not make horrible decisions in regards to the company’s most important brands.