Yesterday it was announced that Panini will produce basketball cards here in America. No more Topps or Upper Deck. Tons of bloggers have already posted about this and the way they feel. Many of them feel it's great that Topps and UD are getting challenged by other companies. This challenged should have been happening years ago, not just with basketball, but in all the sports.
A lot of bloggers also feel that Panini will destroy the basketball card industry. Just exactly how will they destroy it? By not having autographed cards or jersey cards? Please. I'll give the fact that Panini doesn't have a few of the worldwide superstars to use (Lebron with UD), but they might already be in talks about getting Lebron, or even be working with UD to be allowed to produce Lebron cards. Panini is a business, they'll get it together.
Face it, sports cards have been ruined for at least a decade now, if not longer. The people cards used to be catered to (read: kids), can barely afford packs just because the older generation are trying to cash in on triple event used relics of Kevin McHale's jockstrap from the 1983 Photo-shoot. Topps is no longer the company they once were. They make some nice Products, but for the most part, their stuff isn't great. The company lives off name brand only. Hell, for my 21st birthday last year I received a retail box of 2007-2008 NBA Series 1 Basketball. The cards were nice, but very cookie cutter and boring. And don't get on me for getting a retail box, it was a gift from my parents. Upper Deck (at least to me) makes better basketball cards, but nothing special either. My favorite set has been Hardcourt, and that's a mediocre set at best.
Panini is going to ruin the basketball industry because they are European company. What? They will produce basketball cards and get the NBA name-brand out overseas. It's already out there now. Shit, Greece team Olympiacos wants to sign Kobe or Lebron. You tell me people don't know the NBA? Panini will not ruin the basketball card industry, you bloggers and collectors will ruin the b-ball card industry by talking it down and not buying the product because you aren't sure what Panini is about. Look at it this way, Panini might even help America. People buying these cards might be more inclined to buy NBA merchandise and travel here to see the teams.
I'm all for Panini to make cards. Will they make stickers, sure they probably will. Do you have to buy them, no. There's another company that specializes in Football (Soccer) cards in Europe called Futera. I've blogged about them before. Their high end set (Futera Unique Football) caters to overseas collectors (read: American), by adding 1/1 auto's and memorabilia on the cards. If you think these companies don't know that not having these kinds of inserts in their sets will be good, you are crazy.
I'm very excited for Panini to start making basketball cards, because frankly this industry sucks and could use any sort of fresh air it can get. And if they do fail miserably (as in, nobody buys the cards) then it wasn't their fault, they tried, it'd all just come down to the collector being just as stubborn as the manufacturer's they love to hate.