Thoughts On Sports Card Monopolies

This topic of exclusive licenses in sports cards has been eating me up for a while now. It just doesn’t seem to work for me and here’s why…

This post started to solidify after I readĀ Approaching the End of the Topps Monopoly by David over at TribeCards. It’s a great read and really got me thinking about the current exclusive Panini has with football.

When I got back into collecting football in 2013, Topps and Panini were both producing football products. For the most part, I thought both companies were releasing decent products.

In 2016 Panini took over as the exclusive producer of football cards. Originally I was optimistic, but it didn’t take long to change my mind. They released a lot of the same products they did in 2015, which is usually expected from sports card companies. Then little “filler” products started to trickle in. These “filler” products felt cheap and not very well though out.

I decided to use to see how many football product releases Panini and Topps produced within the last few years. I included collegiate releases since those included professional players too.

Number of football products released by Topps and Panini

Topps: 17 products.
Panini: 21 products.
Topps: 18 products.
Panini: 21 products.
Panini: 40 products.
Panini: 35 products (as of 3/2/2018)

In 2014 and 2015 there were just under 40 football products released by Topps and Panini combined. What shocked me was the 40 products that were released in 2016 by Panini alone. I had no idea it the number was that high. Now in 2017 Panini has already released 24 football products. Think they will break 40?

As I read over this post, it sounds like I am trying to uncover some conspiracy theory by Panini. Panini has a business to run and employees to pay, but does that require a new product every week? I guess I would just prefer to have fewer, more quality products to choose from.

Am I just crazy? Or does anyone else feel this way?

By BaseCardHero

Ryan is a baseball card dork and developer. He has been collecting cards since he was six starting with 1988 Score. Reigning from Minnesota, he is an avid Minnesota sports fan.

2 replies on “Thoughts On Sports Card Monopolies”

Wow that’s a lot of product ! Reminds me of Pacific right before they went under. I’d be okay if there was the same amount (or slightly more) of releases, but spread across the three companies – Topps, Panini, and Upper Deck. Panini makes some great products – but I don’t collect nearly as much football (or basketball) as baseball and hockey. Speaking of hockey, In The Game did a terrific job with their limited resources and IMO definitely should have been allowed to give UD some competition. Instead they had to merge with unlicensed Leaf.

The sports card industry has really suffered from a lack of competition and innovation. Too many same-looking sets, not enough new ideas. A lot of the insert sets are just recycled designs from past years. It’s a real shame.


Thanks for reading. I agree on In The Game– They did a great job when they had a license. I am not as much concerned with the lack of new ideas, but the fact that they just cannot keep up with the quality on their products. Releasing 40+ products within an eight month span is quite a feat to undertake.

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