Tomorrow, Panini is going to release two different products. With Score Football, you get a TIRED brand, representative of cheap cards and inferior content. With Prizm Draft Picks, you get a lackluster Chrome knockoff that is full of stickers on NCAA jerseys. Im not sure which is worse. Although both seem to be improved representations of the brands they are representing, that’s like saying the Nissan Cube is an improvement on the Kia Soul. They both suck, regardless of slight improvements versus previous failures.
Prizm has been live for a week or two because of pre-release product broken by “special VIP guests” at the 2015 Rookie Premiere:
Score has had a few cards that were released in special packs at the NFL draft:
As we saw in previews over the last few weeks, Panini approached both products as a prime opportunity to use their new NCAA exclusive. Even though Prizm is a new design, unlike we got for the horribly disappointing Contenders Draft, it still doesnt work as well as other examples from similar sets like Leaf Metal. I would much rather have the slightly retouched on card autographs from Leaf, than full college photos and stickers. Same thing will eventually be true for 2015 Bowman, releasing next week.
With Score, its a bit different. Last year’s Score (and subsequent gag product in 2014 Hot Rookies) was easily one of the worst looking products ever released under the age old banner. Panini chose to use sideline shots of the players without their helmets on, instead of taking the time to retouch the pictures like they should have. What we got was just laughable in every conceivable way. This year, the college pictures are a welcome respite from their terrible decisions made in past versions.
I understand that Panini wants to use Score as an affordable way to keep those “I HATE HIGH END!” collectors around, but lets be honest here, that’s a lost cause in Football. Considering they are already about 90% of the way from driving out the one set that those type of collectors still love, this is another poor decision to try to hang onto that tiny thread.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!? WHY WONT SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?!?!?
Ugh, please drag a sharp rusty spoon across my ball sack every time this discussion comes up. Kids are gone, and they shouldnt be a focus. I have commented endlessly about how fruitless of a venture it will be to spend the shit ton of money it will take to even get a tiny portion of that market back. No matter, people still think that is the answer to all our problems. Releasing Score once a year wont make that happen, especially if its before the Rookie Premiere content is ready. Thinking of Score as a gateway to bringing back kids is pretty fucking hilarious.
The bottom line is that Panini has no clue how to manage their brands, as has been clear in Football since 2008. They believe its more productive to throw lavish parties and send positive vibes to the collector base through their adverblog. Even though they have been defaulted some brand loyalty by Upper Deck’s exit from the business, lets not forget that 99% of their products not named Treasures or Contenders have fallen as flat as the Patriots footballs. I have even made the argument that Treasures and Contenders have missed out on HUGE potential because of terrible decision making. No wonder their football business is so far in the red, that they needed to buy out the ability for their competitors to make their far superior products. Winners by default, as previously stated.
Prizm wont be worth a damn after a week or two, and even less once the real products start to hit. Considering that Bowman, even with retouched “unlicensed” photos, has been able to create cards that hold serious value through the year, Panini should be looking to revamp their approach. Instead we have two sets that will be forgotten faster than ever.
My anxiety over 2016 grows with each passing day, even though there are rumors floating around that Panini is having issue locking down the sister exclusive with NFLP to match their NFLPA exclusive. Obviously, my bitterness over this situation does nothing to help Topps stay in the game, but one can dream.