Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Apologies: Answers to Your Upper Deck Questions

A while ago Gregg Kohn, brand manager for UD Football offered to answer your questions in the first Q and A that we have done on SCU. As can be imagined with the release of Exquisite, and the general day to day operations of the company, Gregg hasnt been able to get to the questions until now.

1. FanofReds - This sounds like a great opportunity. I think it would be interesting to know what "management" THINKS collectors like and want to buy. In other words, what type of things/gimmicks are done to appeal to each of the different collecting demographics that Upper Deck has indentified.

Gregg UD: We try to be as versatile as possible when creating new products. There are more football releases then any other sport so I think it is imperative to have a few that do not center around just Rookies, Signatures and game used. Icons and Heroes may not appeal to the more traditional collector, but they do bring new people into the hobby.

2. Voluntarheel - Because I just experienced this, I will ask it. How do collation issues occur? I recently bought 4 boxes of SP Authentic with a friend of mine and 2 of them didn't have the auto/patch of any kind (rookie of veteran etc.).

While I realize that the scale of which yall are packing products is massive, it's still an issue that frustrates collectors to no end. Not only because of the let-down, but also because of the hurdles that lay ahead to get it rectified. And even then, you know you aren't going to get one of the top guys in return.

Part of the alluring charm that is opening wax is the chance at pulling a big card. Well, if that chance is taken away by the fact that you are shorted, it is also taken away by the fact that you know in return you are probably getting a Lorenzo Booker.

To get specific, please take us through the process of how an SP Authentic Patch (or any product you choose) goes into packs and then those packs into boxes and cases. It better help us understand how in every product, there are the same collation and shortage problems from manufactures.

Thanks you for your attention to your customers.

Gregg UD: We have a company that handles collation based on information provided by us. There are times when the feeders they use or the program has a few issues and situations like yours occur. There are times when the company enters in wrong collation information and it throws off the entire mix. We are trying to fix these issues (SPA was an example) because I can understand the frustration of not getting what you are supposed to or getting way too many dupes.

3. Mikechops - Do you, or have you collected? If so, what is the "gem" of your collection you'll always hold on to?

Gregg UD: I collect Bears and Cubs…..thats it!! I used to have what I thought was the best Ryne Sandberg collection when I still had my store, but have neglected that in the past few years. I still have the sandberg 1991 Donruss Elite Signature…I love that card.

4. Matthew - The redemption process seems to have slipped lately in terms of the 45 days. Are you guys still going by that standard, and if you are, what are you doing for the people who are still waiting those long amounts of time?

Gregg UD: Our goal is always to limit the amount of redemptions and have a quick turn around when we are forced into the unfortunate situation of having them. I really don’t have all the answers about redemptions other then many times we just don’t get the cards back in time and don’t want to eliminate the card because we need it to hit ratios. Trust me when I say we are not fans of redemptions, but we do more on cards signatures then any other company…by far…and sometimes that is the trade off. Labels are always available..hard signed we need to get in house.

5. Graham - A recent hot topic on the blog has been the cost of maintaining the autograph content of a product due to the costs charged by the players. Can you comment on what this is like for UD football?

Gregg UD: This is always a concern as current player signatures prices have sky rocketed in the past few years. I can’t get into how much, but trust me when I say it is more then you can imagine. Rookies, Legends and retired stars are much more reasonable in this regard. I always try and get a balanced line up of signatures, but many times current stars just price themselves out of products.

6. Anonymous - With the economy today, are you guys at all worried about Exquisite and the possibility of sales not being anywhere close to where you expected? Im excited for it, but sadly I cant buy any due to my money situation. Im sure there are a lot of people out there like me.

Gregg UD: The economy is always a concern. You will see in 2009 we went with more price points of $9.99 or less. Draft edition, Heroes, SP Threads, Icons, Philadelphia and UD will all be $9.99 and below. There will always be Exquisite buyers out there…you know the saying….there are people that want Mercedes and people that are happy with Camrys…you just have to make both appealing for the price points.

7. Lars #1 - Since there was 0 cards of Kenny Phillips with "event worn" Giants gear in 2008, will there be in 2009? He had a great year and was a first round pick. I really hope to see some jerseys/patches/auto cards of him in the Giants uniform for 2009, he had such a great season.

Gregg UD: Right now we do not forsee much Kenny Philips for game used, however, this can change..sorry Lars

8. Lars #2 - For next year, if Exquisite is coming back, don't you think that for that price the customer should get gameused rookie cards? Since Exquisite releases after the whole season is played, isn't there a possibility to use the gear from the rookie season? I think that "even-used" can be ok with low-mid end products, but anything for like $400+ and that releases so late in the season you would think should give something extra.

Gregg UD: There is just not possible way to get enough game used jerseys of the top rookies to get enough patches to make anyone happy. You know Exquisite uses very large patches and plenty of them for rookies. There is just no possible way to get enough jerseys even at the end of the season. The yield for patches is low..then take into account the size patch we use then there is no chance.

9. Greg - Hi. I've noticed that no gold versions of SP Authentics base cards exist on Ebay yet. What's the reason for that. So far I've only seen gold parallels of the rookie patch autos, but not of the regular rookie autos or base rookies.

Gregg UD: We did not do regular set parallels this year, we might bring them back for 2009…but I think we are going to add 100 cards to the regular set this year to liven up the base set this year.

10. houstoncollector - Why is the price difference on Upper Deck Base so vastly different between the Hobby and Retail versions (per pack here) when the differences do not match up?

Gregg UD: The retail business and price structure is much different. The price they(retail distribution) pay for product is much less then hobby, so we can’t put as many goodies into retail products.

11. Groat - Internally, what role are manufactured patch cards supposed to play in a card set? Some manufactured patches, like the non-auto'ed cards from UD Premier, seem like just a way to take up the space of something cool you'd otherwise be getting. Other ones, like the SP Numbers Signatures in this year's SPA, seem like an interesting way to add a little bit of class to a card.

Gregg UD: The manufactured patch cards are just something different. In no way do they ever replace something “good” you can be best they replace a game used and most of then time have better value. The industry is always looking for something different, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. There are times when a product works with Manufactured patches or Lettermen (Icons, SPA) and sometimes maybe overdone as in Premier. We will keep trying to find value in things other then Jersey Cards to help bring life to products….they always don’t work, but at least we try.

12. Steve - Ask Gregg what he listened to on his iPod while they packed out Exquisite. Packing out Exquisite BK was bizarre only because of the 70's music that was cranked out from his iPod.

Gregg UD: had the same music for Football as basketball Steve..and I know you loved it!...You can never have enough Fleetwood Mac or Eagles!

Thanks to Gregg Kohn for taking the time to do this for us. Hopefully we can do it again.


  1. Very cool follow up. Thanks again for your attention to the customers.

    By the way, I opened another SP Authentic box and got an extra patch auto, a Paul Hornung #/17. Consider us even.

  2. Thanks, that was cool!