After hearing the news that Topps would once again be the sole card producer for baseball cards beginning next year, one thing came to my mind: money.
While MLB officials and the folks at Topps can talk about a renewed focus on getting children back involved in the hobby and Michael Eisner’s involvement until their blue in the face, but the new deal all boils down to the all mighty dollar and Topps’ willingness to pony up whatever it took to control the market.
As we saw with the agreement made between Panini and the NBA to be the sole provider in the basketball card market, the leagues, just like the rest of us, have been affected by the recession. Selling rights to the highest bidder has become fashionable because it provides the leagues with a quick infusion of revenue and leaves the trouble that often accompanies a monopoly for another day.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Topps running the baseball card show is fine but let’s not kid ourselves on why they’re the sole provider and Upper Deck is left out in the cold. They offered a higher bid, plain and simple. They obviously wanted to control the market and were willing to pay and pay big time, to do just that. And more power to them for doing so, literally and figuratively.