With recent announcements coming from the Topps Conference and Fanatics recent purging of Panini talent in efforts to acquire the company and get the basketball and football licensing sooner than 2026. Many in the hobby could be nervous of what's to come. Monopolies or almost monopolies usually don't have great track results especially on the consumer end.
I completely understand, as a kid from Brooklyn who grew up in Topps backyard, I was completely stunned when the news came down about them losing their baseball licenses to Fanatics...an apparel company??? Blasphemous! Fast forward two years later and much has changed. We went from a point of wondering "Is this the end of Topps?" to many being excited to see Topps Chrome Basketball and Football being brought back from the dead and other product lines we thought were gone for good. Winds of change can be swift, powerful and come out of nowhere.
For both old & new hobbyists thie new era and terrain could potentially be overwhelming and tantalizing at the same time. When I've been asked about it, I've said I'm "cautiously optimistic".
Recently I was glad to see some of the Fanatics brass make the rounds at various card shows around the country. I hope they are genuinely using the opportunity to not only take things in but listening to fellow hobbyists who are on the front lines of this new terrain. I'm sure they know the importance of "Us". I also hope they have the best interests of the LCS as well. The hobby is multi-faceted and all the parts are crucial to the long term success of not only the hobby but Fanatics as well.
I know I've focused heavily on Fanatics here, probably because they will be in control of 75% of the four major sports. However I'd love to see Panini and Upper Deck not only survive but thrive. I don't endorse or believe in monopolies. If Panini survives I hope the new era forces them to do and be better. Upper Deck continues to be the epitome of great customer service even during a pandemic when that was the first thing to fall by the wayside. They been more open to change with their recent announcement of changing the configuration of their flagship hockey release in 2023-24. For the first time ever there will be one of one's in their flagship product. It's no coincidence it coincides with the arrival of hockey phenomenom Connor Bedard. We may see for the first time...a bounty chase in a hockey product.
While the landscape has changed and continues to change causing some tentaiveness and tension with some. I'm trying to focus on the positive and hopefully some exciting things ahead.