Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cardboard Commentary #39 (Hobby Lull?)

I was at my local cards store (D&P Cards in Sacramento) earlier this week to purchase a box of the new Black Diamond - check out the review if you haven't yet! I got to talking with the owner there and we both agreed that for whatever reason, the hobby seems much slower now than it has been for the past few years.

From what I have seen, there has been some slowing in the hobby - interest has dropped off a bit. Am I saying it's the end of the hobby as we know it and it's on the steep decline? Well, no. I'm sure there will be a bounce back, but there is just a feeling of disinterest at the moment. The buzz, the excitement, the anticipation of new product has decreased.

And to me, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, the economy is not really any different than it has been. In fact, I can think of times recently when it has been much worse. And at this point all the major sports (except baseball) are in full effect. The NHL is not on strike, there is a double rookie class, the Winter Classic is coming up, and you can't forget about the Olympics too! The NBA is also rolling right along with Kobe coming back from injury just last week. And the NFL is still the juggernaut that it is - grabbing everyone's attention on Sunday, Monday, and Thursdays.

So what is it that is generating this hobby lull? I can think of a few things...

With the NHL, it might be that the full season is back. But wait, isn't that a good thing? Well, the lockout was terrible, but what it did do was make people really hungry for hockey. The full grind of a non-shortened season can dull excitement. I mean, last year every game was meaningful and felt like there was weight on it. And on the card front, there just weren't that many releases.

On the NBA side of things, Kobe did come back, but Derrick Rose has gone down for the season again. And locally, the Sacramento Kings should be picking up a lot of interest, but I personally think the new fans back on board with the Kings haven't been tapped into the hobby yet. And they need to be. The NBA just needs to get more of their fans into the hobby.

While the NFL is still king in the USA, this year's rookie class has not even remotely been close to the amazing class that was last year's class. NFL collectors just had it way too good last year, and so this year looks terrible in comparison.

So are these reasons for a lull? Should there even be a lull right now? Let me know if you've felt a slowdown in the hobby... or is it just me!?!? Tell me in the comment sections!


  1. Probably a combination of factors. The competitive market for officially licensed products doesn't exist like it used to.

    Upper Deck, which seems to be everyone's preferred brand, has lost everything except the NHL. While some still love Exquisite and dug Retro, others couldn't get passed the college uni's. Panini, which now holds most of the licenses, is still relatively new and seem to be endlessly changing their product lineup. Consumers are stubborn and tend to favour familiarity.

    The products themselves are also becoming increasingly convoluted. They've devalued the jersey card through saturation, and longer print autos raise barely an eyebrow, ESPECIALLY if its a sticker auto. You've got Upper Deck doing something ludicrous like making a 16 sticker auto Jordan booklet. 16 auto's of the same player!

    I also wonder how long collectors are going to put up with unfulfilled redemptions. Myself I have 3 with Topps and 3 with Panini, I know of others who are waiting on many more and for a lot longer too.

    Maybe the manufacturers need to reign it in a bit, make their products more special. If the piece is game used, tell us which game. If its going to be a sticker auto, then and least make it work with the design.

    With all that said, collectors themselves may also be playing a part. Its a buyers market out there and many may have given up taking the hit on buying boxes and shifted to picking up singles on the secondary market. And many sellers out there are trying to undercut each other to shift that card. There's definitely a disparity between what Beckett says and what a card will go for on ebay.

    I'm sure its a passing phase, but it would be fantastic if Panini could settle (with the upcoming Dominion so cheap, I'm worried what they've got planned), and Upper Deck can get back in the game.

    - reebz0r

    1. great points reebz0r! those definitely add to collector frustration.

  2. I've felt that way too. I was sure I was going to buy my first case this year (UDS1) but was so disapointed with the Young Guns design that I only bought one box and then gave all the base cards to my friend's son.

    After that my plan was to try Black Diamond for the first time, I really liked what I saw in the previews. Then when it came out last week I just wasn't feeling it from the breaks I saw and your review.

    What I decided to do was to buy some older product of sets I still wanted to do. I bought 4 boxes of 07/08 OPC, 3 boxes of 06/07 Parkhurst and 2 boxes of 05/06 UD Series 2 and I'm quite excited to open them all during Christmas.

  3. I totally know what you are talking about, even I started to feel it but I'm coming in full stride. I just bought 3 AMAZING phil kessel cards and am trying to make tons of trades


  4. Also, there is too much parallel from Panini, are they trying to be Pacific or something. If by exemple you collect Crosby, check how many Crosby there is in the Select set WOW. Green, blue, purple, red, red cracked, purple cracked on 25, on 5, on 1, on 100, on 99 u know the patern. I was collecting Pekka Rinne and i got tired of all those same card with a different serial number but its the same card.

    And common jersey are all looking the same, should they make a ton more jersey with quad time the player checklist? You can buy NHL 13-14 jersey for 0,99$ on ebay, why... there is way too much. There is a few SP but well...

    As another said, today im going to buy some oldest stuff .. for fun..

    sorry my english, i speak french all the time..