Hobby shop owners across the country have been reporting slow sales on most NBA sports card releases this year. Upper Deck products have been moving fairly steadily due to strong content, limited production runs and exclusive autograph agreements for many of this year’s top rookies including Al Horford (Hawks) and Kevin Durant (Sonics).
As the leader in the NBA trading card category however, Upper Deck feels as though more needs to be done. In an effort to further stimulate the NBA trading card market, Upper Deck is announcing production has been cut further on all NBA release for the remainder of the 2007-08 season. Additionally, for hobby shops that purchase direct from Upper Deck, no allocations will be guaranteed for the remainder of the season and NBA product will only be available on a first come, first serve basis.
“The cuts actually started with 2007-08 SP Authentic Basketball and they have been pretty significant,” shared Chris Kollmeyer, Upper Deck brand manager for Basketball. “The cuts are difficult to take from a financial standpoint, but allow us to make improvements to the brands in ways collectors appreciate. For example, 2007-08 UD Black Basketball will now have two true “A” level autographs per 10-box case on average. Collectors can look for autograph cards of legends like Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving along with Upper Deck exclusive superstar spokesmen like Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan to fall in that mix. This is the type of enhancement the production cuts allow us to make to improve the brand and ultimately the market.”
Two of Upper Deck’s higher-end products are being cut significantly to increase the overall value and collectibility of the sets. The release of 2007-08 UD Premier Basketball, scheduled to be released on April 2nd, will be limited to just 499 cases. The release of 2007-08 NBA SP Rookie Threads, scheduled to be released on April 18th, will be limited to just 599 cases. Furthermore, the cases will each be sequentially numbered on the outside to prove there were only a finite amount of them produced.
“The economy in general is another reason why the trading card market has struggled as of late,” said Chris Carlin, Upper Deck hobby marketing manager. “These cuts afford many sports fans the opportunity to invest in their passion as most market experts believe the NBA trading card market will rebound and collectors will come back to this rookie class. When it does recover, we anticipate the limited supply available on Upper Deck products will act as another catalyst to improve values on products from 2007-08 season.”