Topps is coming to the end of the second year of its exclusivity with an MLB license.
Upper Deck had an MLBPA license in 2010, but no MLB license, which meant they could only make cards with players only, no logos or team names. UD didn't follow those rules and got sued.
So, for some time there was just one.
The longtime card company stood alone creating a variety of products that were received differently by the collectors. Regardless if a collector liked or disliked a set, it seemed there was one thing they all wanted – competition.
Most people understand competition is good in a business marketplace. It doesn't allow companies to get complacent. I'm not saying this is what Topps has done. It has put out some really good products this year such as Gypsy Queen.
Still, we wanted more.
Consumers wanted options.
On Thursday, we got one step closer, although we're not entirely there. MLBPA gave a license to Panini America to create baseball cards. The catch? Just like Upper Deck, they cannot use team names and logos because those are with the MLB license.
But we have a choice when 2011 Elite Extra Edition hit the shelf. It was has been a hit for prospectors, but that is supposed to be the first product that will have the MLBPA license.
I haven't collected much Panini product because I don't collect other sports. I've looked at its football and basketball cards from time to time. There have been some hits and some misses – just like every other company out there. No company is infallible and will make mistakes, even companies such as Google and Apple.
For now, I'm going to keep an open mind just as I do every other baseball product that hits the shelf. If I like what I see online with auctions on eBay and box breaks on other sites, I will buy. If I don't like it, I just one want one card out of the set: a Derek Jeter.
I'm looking forward to seeing what competition is going to bring. Panini has its work cut out for them in the baseball market because Topps has had a stranglehold in that area for so long. Panini is going to have to come out with great products to lure the consumers.
I can't wait.