Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Change In Hobby

When we were little kids, we all had something we wasted all our money on. Of course, the money wasn't wasted in our eyes, but I liked to spend money on sports cards. For me, this was fantasy sports before I knew what fantasy sports were. I would lay out my favorite cards and divide them into teams who would then proceed to play whatever sport they were from. However, as I was a young child without satellite or cable TV, I did not know all of the players yet, so often my decisions on who were the best players depended on the design of the card. Whoever's card looked better was obviously a better player. However, this style of decision-making may be over for any kids who play my style of fantasy baseball. In an article on which was published on December 7, I found that Topps has become the exclusive licensor of Major League Baseball. Nothing against Topps, their cards are nice and affordable, but I worry about the lack of creativity that may ensue. Without competition, all Topps will have to do is maintain the status quo and be able to pick up all the former Upper Deck loyalists who still want to collect baseball cards. Therefore, the innovative designs and constant desire to outdo the rival companies will possibly disappear. How will young children decide who the best players are without seeing what cards look better? I for one hope that Topps continues to advance and perhaps might expand their line to offer many different styles of cards appealing to different markets. The more conservative, traditional approach will appeal to older consumers while perhaps they could develop a more action-based line. When I think of this in my own childhood, I think of Skybox of the mid-90s or Fleer Metal. While some people might think that this style is unrealistic, that's what I liked about it. They were not just like any other brand; they were more bold and original. I hope that Topps can re-create this sense of differentiation that allows them to become diverse enough to appeal to the very broad market of people interested in this hobby and maybe revive it to its former popularity.

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