Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Comment On The Topps Lawsuit

After reading the many posts about Topps and their failure to pay for the autos in their sets, I was more interested in the cost of their autographs than anything. For those of you who wonder why its so expensive to put together a set, this is the reason.

I have commented before on the cost of autographs for the sets, but this is more actual numbers to show you just how bad it can get. Even someone like DeAndre Jordan gets 3 bucks a sig, even though thats probably more than his cards are acually worth. Consider he probably had to sign more than he sued for, its a minimum of 3 grand just for him alone. Then you see that Tracy McGrady and Derrick Rose got 50 and 25 each, respectively, and the numbers really start to pile up, especially when you imagine just how many autographs they sign per whole calendar year.

The issue is that the players are just as much responsible for the cost of a product as the stuff the companies buy to put in it. Add in the enormous cost of licensing, and you can see why products cost as much as they do. Although I am one of the people who say that products NEED this type of stuff to be successful, its painfully obvious that these players are costing the companies a lot of money.

Obviously, Topps needs to pay these players, as shafting anyone out of a commitment like that is crazy - especially when they are the lifeblood of your company. In this case, however, Topps isnt really in that bad of situation when you see that they wont be dealing with the league anymore. If they had continued with the NBA license, you could imagine how bad this would have been for them. The problem is that it doesnt necessarily mean that the players from the other sports wont use this as a reason to sour the relationship with the card producing public, and that is what scares me as much as any other aspect of this story.

With this lawsuit, Topps has set a pretty bad example for the rest, even more so when the numbers they pay for the autos are publicized. I think this is definitely a black eye for a company that hasnt been sitting well with collectors already, and I hope this is the last instance like this. In an industry that has dropped in net revenue over the years, stuff like this cant happen.

1 comment:

  1. What this has really shown me is the amount of markup that goes into autographs when these same athletes sign at card shows or private sessions. I know that there's sometimes travel expenses and such to be recouped, but some of these guys who are getting paid $25 a signature probably will cost around $100 if you see them signing at a card show. That's a huge difference.