I thought that there was a huge opportunity to do some major damage in draft sets for Panini, especially with Upper Deck being forced out of the college game. Its an exclusive that may not make them a bunch of money, but it could bring more people to their products if used correctly. Instead of using retouched photos like their competition will have to use, they get the full breadth of the spectrum, including non-rookie players. Now that we are getting more of a clear look at their flagship product, its safe to say that they fucked up big time.
We knew early on that Prizm was going to be stickers. Its par for the course with that set anyways. We also knew that Contenders was going to have stickers for the older players – which has always been the way Upper Deck approached this part of the year as well.
To this point, in order to compete with other companies, they needed to match the success of these on card examples:
Even though other smaller sets have featured some really nice cards, Panini did not change course on their publicity. They refused to address whether or not the rest of the rookie stuff would be on card to compete with the other companies who have already put out some pretty awesome stuff. Today, it looks like Contenders is going to be stickers as well as Prizm.
So, lets lay it out there:
- New license
- New opportunities
- Old design?
- Sticker autos?
- Competition looks better?
How do you not put your best foot forward in this situation? How do you not want to start your brand off right? This is an exclusive license that could add some flavor to your products in the coming years and instead of going balls out, you want to use an old design and sticker autos? Cmon. Really?
I mean, Upper Deck's Inscriptions product will lay waste to this shit, and Leaf Trinity is going to make both look like inferior turds. It has been a great looking product for years. If your competitors and their tiny operations are going to make you look like bush league amateurs, that is not the way to start your line. If the license’s start date puts a limitation on the way your products can be built, adjust your calendar or dont risk the biggest brand in your arsenal. Horrible decision making.
Personally, I would say Elite Extra Edition is ripe for this territory. Its a new brand for football, it doesnt damage other brands if it tanks, and Elite Football can be pushed back to allow for a buffer zone. I dont get Panini’s plan here one single bit.
If you are looking for a draft product to buy, I would highly suggest Upper Deck Inscriptions or Leaf Ultimate Draft. Both have great looking cards with on card autographs. Dont waste your time and money on a set that offers nothing special. In less than 2 months, there will be pro products on the shelves, and college stuff will drop. If you have to open something, at least find a box that offers unique content. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will have THOUSANDS of sticker autos all year. These ones from Contenders and Prizm wont even make the top 100.