As much as I absolutely love what Upper Deck does in terms of design and production, they continue to surprise me with the way they approach their business dealings. Yesterday TMZ reported that HOFer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is suing Upper Deck in an amount GREATER than 1 million dollars in regards to the use of his name, picture and autograph in one of their latest releases. According to the always 100% factual TMZ report, UD had received advanced knowledge that this would happen, and went ahead with it despite Kareem’s objections.
Considering that Upper Deck is already in a HEAP of trouble with just about all of the league offices in some way, to run with this in the way they did is incredibly terrible business sense. Although I am sure there is another side to the story regarding autograph contracts and likeness contracts that dictate the use of players in a product, it is definitely NOT good news for Upper Deck.
The bottom line is that Upper Deck has a lot of stuff on their plate already, and they will need to stop things like this from happening if they want to continue business as usual. As it stands right now, their product lines remain in jeopardy until there is a proven record that an NCAA exclusive and NHL license can sustain them, and if lawsuits continue to pile up, it wont matter if they have success.
Its pretty obvious that something needs to change, and hopefully situations like this don’t continue to happen. More on this as it becomes available.