2014 Industry Summit Giveaways Start to Take Shape

If you have been reading this site for the last few weeks, you have seen how much I dislike what is happening with the events relating to the 2014 Industry Summit coming up in Las Vegas. Although the summit was conceived as a way for Shop owners and dealers to commiserate and get best practices, it hasnt exactly seemed like that was the main focus anymore. Number one with a bullet has been getting giveaways to pay for the trip. Aside from the swag, from my perspective and the perspective of attendees over the last few years, its become more about the companies vomiting information from every inch of the show floor. Of course, survival tactics are still shared, but the real purpose of this event is no longer near the top.

Here are some of the giveaways from previous years. You can see what I mean:

2011 Upper Deck Sidney Crosby Auto Industry Summit

2013 Topps Miguel Cabrera Auto Industry Summit

2013 Topps Mike Trout Auto Industry Summit

2012 Topps Adrian Peterson Auto Industry Summit

Even crazier is that the Summit has banned Leaf and ITG, among others from participating, which means that the focus of the event is even further left of center than normal. I dont get it anymore. Its a bastardization of what it was meant to be. Leaf even had some of the better giveaways, which is going to piss some eager attendees off.

Many of the companies have started to leak the previews of their summit giveaways, and for the most part they are pretty cool. While Upper Deck is in the midst of their 25th anniversary, and bringing their version of the famous black box, that is just the beginning. Panini is taking a football focus with the Green Parallel of Select Football, which was made popular at the summit last year for basketball.

Press Pass, somehow not banned in the licensing fiasco that has ensnared the other unlicensed companies, is releasing a set of unlicensed football cards for the upcoming 2014 draft. Seriously. I cant make this shit up. Where Leaf and ITG were banned for not being licensed, Press Pass is giving away cards that fall under exactly that. Who are the ad wizards that came up with that one?

These types of giveaways are used to fund the trip of the owners that attend, and then some. One guy who emailed me last year said he walked away with 2000 dollars worth of swag on a trip that cost him 800. Not a bad haul, especially when you see how much some of this stuff sells for. Should that be the focus of a struggling shop just trying to survive? I guess. Should it be the only reason they attend? No. With successful shops from all over the country coming to this show, this is the time to build a business plan, not listen to the verbal diarrhea coming out of the company presentations, only to get in line for the next giveaway. Every last piece of information delivered by any company at the summit will be available through other sources. No need to waste time there, yet that’s where everyone gravitates to.

That's not saying I dont like the cards, as most of the exclusives are interesting giveaways. Look at some of the stuff UD is giving out! Pretty nuts, and Panini has a history of some great stuff too. Considering how much they sell for, I understand why people want to spend the time to get them. The issue is that it can detract from the true motives of why someone should attend. Keep that in mind.

2012 National Treasures Andrew Luck Logo 1/1 Pulled in Group Break

As of right now, products like 2012 National Treasures Football, Topps Chrome and Contenders are sitting on the mountain as relatively unbreakable because of box cost. Due to some amazing rookies, the prices of the boxes have skyrocketed to the point where group breaks are really the only affordable way to break them. Well, one of the group breakers hit the Jackpot over the weekend with treasures. They hit the NFL logo rookie patch auto 1/1 Andrew Luck, a card that I am shocked had yet to be pulled.

Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 3.56.23 PM

With the Andrew Luck Chrome Superfractor also back up on the market, lots of the biggest cards of the last 10 years are on eBay at the same time.

When you also see how much Luck’s treasures cards are selling for already, this is a huge pull.

2012 National Treasures Andrew Luck Rookie Patch Auto /49

2012 National Treasures Andrew Luck Rookie Patch Auto Plate 1/1

2012 National Treasures Andrew Luck Rookie Patch Auto Booklet /49

2012 National Treasures Andrew Luck Dual Relic Auto

Although I think the design is horrible on the card, its desirable solely because of the name of the product and the cost of the box. I dont think it looks as good as a card of this variety should, with the player relegated to the corner of the layout. Its obvious that this card wont touch the 16.5K sale of the Topps Chrome Superfractor auto, but it should break the 10K mark if they sell.

Here is another Treasures Luck Logo Auto 1/1 that has been up for a while.

Luck is quickly becoming one of the must have rookie autographs to have, even though his second year stuff hasnt sold quite as well. Luck is a guy that many believe will have a long and fruitful career in Indy, already reaching the playoffs twice in his tenure. Although Russell Wilson has caught up to him thanks to a recent championship, most would agree the defense is probably the star on that team. Luck is more the man on the Colts, and his numbers have been great. With QBs developing over time, it almost goes without saying that we havent seen anything yet.

That’s not saying there isnt risk with putting money in Luck, but I think this card is a bit above that level of investment. That being said, who’s to say that a 1/1 rookie auto out of the top value product of the year isnt worth its weight in gold?

Diving Deeper Into 2013 Spectra Football

I think 2013 Spectra FB is an interesting products for a lot of reasons, some good, some bad. When you charge 270+ dollars per box, there is a certain expectations of content, and for some of the subsets, they deliver. Others are coming up very short.

Rookie and Veteran On Card Auto Patches – WIN

As I have said before, I like the fact that Panini is getting on card content from non-rookies into their sets. THAT IS A HUGE WIN. The fact that most of them are redemptions scare me more than it should, but it still works. The thing that distracts from the content is the background on these cards, as it is busier than it needs to be. With a chrome stock, the technology will speak for itself. No need to go nuts like they did.

2013 Spectra Peyton Manning Auto Relic /25

2013 Spectra Russell Wilson Logo Patch On Card Auto /10

2013 Spectra Eddie Lacy Auto Patch Red Refractor /25

HOF On Card Autos – WIN

This is a set that should end up being one of the better ones of the year. Simple design, chrome presentation, and print runs up to 50 are a great start to this type of program. The cards arent selling for exorbitant numbers, and that only serves to make them more attractive to the general public. It also helps with only a few people outside of group breakers that are opening.

2013 Spectra Shannon Sharpe HOF On Card Auto /50

2013 Spectra Earl Campbell HOF Auto On Card /50

Sticker Relic Autos – LOSE

Some of the checklist for this product is horrifyingly bad. Defensive players, lower tier non-RPS guys, all do not need cards in a product like this. There is no reason to water down the checklist when there are 40 rookies at the premiere that will do that for you.

2013 Spectra Kiko Alonso Auto Patch RC

2013 Spectra Matt Elam Emerald Logo Patch Auto /5

Inserts – LOSE

I really dont understand the need for base cards in a product like this, let alone inserts. Most of them are gaudy and remind me of the late 1990s in basketball, which I cant stand. The names are just as horrible, and I cannot put my stamp of approval when cards combine poor design work with poor names for the sets. Yuck. Add in goofy pictures of the rookies, and you draw my hatred.

2013 Spectra Drew Brees City Limits Refractor

2013 Spectra Mike Glennon Rookie Revolution /25

Jumbo GU Patches – WIN

Some of these cards feature some filthy ass swatches, which continue to be attractive. I like the look of these cards a bit better than the normal relic auto cards, which adds a bit of intrigue.

2013 Spectra Russell Wilson Jumbo Patch

2013 Spectra Andre Johnson Logo Jumbo Patch

Spectra will be overlooked in the grand scheme of things, and for all intents and purposes, it should be. Its overpriced, over designed, and really doesnt offer anything special what so ever. If you are going to build out a category already occupied by a similarly underwhelming product in Bowman Sterling, its essential to do something unique. This is everything but.

2014 SPX Football Preview Tries to Build With Big Rookies

When you look at it 2014 has already been a relatively big year for Upper Deck, save the interview with Ken Griffey Jr on ESPN. A hockey exclusive, a relatively strong class of rookies in football that come from popular schools, etc. Although I don’t think SPX will end up being on their list of resounding victories come the end of the year, it looks like they are trying to build nicely on what it has become.

Rookie Jumbo Relic Autos

Aside from the unacceptable use of silk screened relics from cheap bookstore jerseys in their cards, the rookie jumbo relic autos have looked VERY nice these last few years. Another card that uses the rectangular 1X2 swatch that I love so much, the design looks well composed per usual UD standards. I think they look better this year than they did last year, although a stronger class will do more than any look could ever do. It also looks like these might be on card for the first time, which is great to see, especially because UD has such an advantage of not having to wait for the draft to produce the cards.

Last year:

2013 SPX Eddie Lacy Auto Jumbo Relic /175

2013 SPX EJ Manuel Jumbo Jersey Auto /475

2013 SPX Matt Barkley Jumbo Jersey Auto /475

This year:

2014-SPx-Football3 2014-SPx-Football2

UD Premier Quad Relic Autos

I have never been a fan of Premier when it was a standalone product, but these singular cards are nice. The fact that the numbers add an element of busy texture to the card isn’t attractive, but overall, its nice. They really haven’t changed much over the last few years, and collectors still aren’t sure where they fit, to be completely honest. As an extra hit in the box, its worth adding to the product.

Last Year:

2013 SPX Barry Sanders Retro UD Premier Auto Quad Relic

2013 SPX Le’Veon Bell UD Premier Auto Quad Relic

This year:

2014-SPx-Football4

Hologram Cards / other cards

These are some of my favorites from back when I was a kid, and I am glad to see they are back for another year. The nostalgic element of these cards will drive them, although I wish the autos weren’t as rare. The holoview diecuts were the pinnacle of my childhood collection, and to see them done this way with current guys brings the memories flooding back.

Last year:

2013 SPX Jim Kelly Holoview Die Cut Insert

2013 SPX John Elway Holoview Die Cut Insert

This year:

2014-SPx-Football5 2014-SPx-Football62014-SPx-Football1

Like I said above, SPX wont wow the pants off anyone the way Exquisite can. Its still looks like some nice improvements are going to be made.

2013 Spectra is Live – Is Price of Admission Too Much?

When 2013 Spectra Football was announced, I was VERRRRY skeptical. Although it promised on card autographs which I absolutely loved, the design looked like something straight off a trapper keeper like I had in 1995 during grade school. Bright colors, busy patterns, but an overall composition that mirrors what I usually like. I was torn on how I felt. Now that I am seeing the results, combined with the Bowman Sterling-esque price point, I have to believe this set will not end well for Panini.

2013 Panini Spectra EJ Manuel On Card Red Refractor /25

2013 Panini Spectra Eric Dickerson Auto HOF On Card

2013 Panini Spectra Eddie Lacy Auto Patch Emerald /5

2013 Panini Spectra Knile Davis Auto Logo Patch 1/1

Here is the question every collector should ask themselves – if Bowman Sterling is one of the worst price points of the year, why is Panini rushing to fill that category as well? You cant have boxes that cost 300 bucks unless you are delivering some of the best content of the year. So far, neither Bowman Sterling nor Spectra is on that path, so why are they being made? Does anyone else get the feeling that ever since Panini has “developed” their own diet Chrome, they have been trying to transfer every Topps product and make a Panini equivalent? It doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some cards I absolutely love. The HOF on card autograph refractors are both simple and stunning with on card autograph content. These types of cards should be saved for National Treasures they are so nice, and I am not complaining that they are included. It’s a hugely attractive subset.

I also like that players like Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning have on card patch auto content – as rare as it might be. On card autograph content is always welcome in my book, I just wish the design didn’t bring immediate comparisons to Lisa Frank. If Adrian Peterson ends up having an on card patch auto, ill likely buy it, so its not bad enough for me to stay away.

That isn’t the only problem. Panini looks to have added some depth to their patch auto checklist, which is good for player collectors who buy singles, but bad news for wax breakers. Im sorry, but a 300 dollar box should not have defensive guys as the box hit, unless they are a top player. 99% of defensive players fall in that bucket, 99.9% if they are rookies. Not saying these guys shouldn’t have auto patches, just not in a product like this. The RPS provides 40 guys, that’s enough for me. No need to add someone else unless they had a ridiculous season. Zac Stacy and Alfred Morris are good examples.

Does Spectra have its moments? It does – there is no denying that. Is it falling into the same shelf space as Bowman Sterling? Yes – and that is NOT a good thing.