Friday, June 18, 2010

What Is Going On With Elite?

Now that Elite has been out for a few days, we are getting a good picture of how much the cards are going for. Suprisingly, prices are not as expensive as I thought they would be, which makes me wonder as to how collectors are perceiving the strength of this draft class. Even the top running backs of the class are selling lower than I expected, as the Peterson effect would usually have prices of Spiller and Matthews through the roof. On top of that, players like Dez Bryant, who play for highly collected teams arent feeling that bump like I have seen in similar situations for previous years, and im not sure that it all has to do with how the cards look. So, that begs the question of whether or not it’s the class or the product.

When it comes to the argument that the class is responsible for a normal pricing bump that follows the first post premiere NFL uni product, I think there is definitely merit. This draft was so defense heavy, that most of the elite prospects were Defensive Linemen who normally wouldn’t command high prices. Outside of the defensive line, there were a handful of great CBs, LBs, and other player positions that have no demand in the hobby in normal cases. Bradford is the top QB of the class, but he is being outsold by Tebow, who is looking more like a career backup than anything at first glance of his skill set. Bryant is the top WR of the class, but he fell far in the draft due to character issues. Spiller is the top RB by a nose over Ryan Matthews, but people arent buying in to his stuff like they would in previous years because its more generally understood that Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson were more the exception to the rule than the rule itself. That, and most of Johnson's success came in his second year, not his rookie year like Peterson.

As for the actual product, this may be the first time that NFL uniforms may have been detrimental to a product. Even though people like me bought into a product we normally avoid like the plague due to college stuff, other collectors were expecting it. Then when you also factor in that the design is more simple and plain than previous years, all those collectors that usually shout "OOOO SOMETHING SHINY!!!" when they buy a card, may not be as excited. Again, even though I am just about 100% focused on design and love simplicity over the eyesores of last year's thunderstorm cards, there are a lot of people that want foil and other crap like that because they think it looks better (or may have vision problems that prevent them from liking good looking stuff).

Overall, Elite will have a following regardless of anything because it has brand recognition, but I am acutally pretty surprised that prices arent higher. Although Im not sure as to why its happening completely, im sure it’s a combination of all of the above. I will say that it takes a lot for me to want a box of something, and I bought some of this product. At the very least, that says that things are getting better with Panini rather than worse. They still have buttloads of sticker products with no hint of any veteran cards worth buying, they may love ridiculous amounts of parallels, they may have floating swatches, but they did good by me here by including NFL uni cards as early as possible. Considering that people like me are rising at a more rapid rate due to the way products are being produced, you would think that things would be at a much higher price point. Obviously, something else is at work.

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