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What went on in Vegas, didn’t stay in Vegas for long!

March 26, 2011

I just returned recently from three great days in Las Vegas at the 2011 Industry Trade Summit hosted by Kevin Isaacson.

I didn’t attend last year and now that I have been to this event, I am sorry I didn’t but then again the past is the past.

A lot a ground was covered at the Summit, some good, some great and some just horse manure.

Before I get into details, remember this is my blog and these are my opinions and my opinions only.

Now to the earth shattering announcements.

Upper Deck and Panini announced their new distribution plans. I won’t comment on either of their plans because they have nothing to do with me. But, I sure hope they know what they are doing because if their plans don’t work, they might hurt the entire hobby, badly.

Richard McWilliam made an address to the “brick and mortar” stores only, so I was not able to attend. Perhaps he promised not the counterfeit any more cards because I did hear some applause from the room.

Panini gave out a ton of gifts to the attendees. It reminded me of what Upper Deck used to do in the mid-90’s. Maybe I am just jealous. In The Game didn’t give out any gifts and I didn’t receive any gifts. So I just went to the gift store and bought my own gifts.

On Tuesday morning there was what potentially an excellent seminar. But it didn’t turn out that way.

I listened to Dave McCarthy (a good guy by the way) from the NHL, Adam Larry, Upper Deck’s guy, Chris someone and Panini’s Tracy Hackler were talking about how to bring kids into the hobby.

Boy, are they out of touch with reality.

They talked about how great the All-Star weekend was and how passionate the fans were and how the players interacted with the fans. Of course it was, it always is great for the fans and the players do a great job at the NHL All-Star Game but there are 51 other weeks of the year to worry about.

How about the NHLPA getting their players to sign for their licensees on time so that collectors would not have hundreds or thousands of redemptions to wait for.

Wait! Maybe on of the licensees should pay the players on time. That could also factor into the redemption issue.

What I didn’t see on the agenda was a seminar about how the hobby should try to keep our loyal collectors from leaving the hobby. I think that is as important trying to bring new collectors into the hobby. Maybe veteran collectors could bring their sons and daughters into the hobby if they were happy collecting, again just my opinion.

On the final day, there were two panels held in the morning.

The first one had the three sales people from Upper Deck, Panini and Topps. The questions were so vanilla, that if I didn’t know better, I would say that the panel picked the questions themselves.

Nothing controversial like; “Upper Deck when are going to stop putting redemptions in the your products that you can never fulfill?” Or “Panini, when are you going to make an innovative hockey card set that doesn’t borrow ideas from Score, Pinnacle, Pacific or your football card sets?” Or “Topps, why didn’t you let stores cancel their orders when Strasburg got hurt since you hadn’t made the products yet?”

No, nothing like that. Just more and more stroking to the big guys because they were giving out free gifts and free lunches.

So next comes the “Micro Manufacturer” Panel including myself, Brian Gray of Leaf, Steve Charendorf of Rittenhouse and DJ of Press Pass. Do you think that the three big shots from Upper Deck, Panini or Topps stayed to hear what we had to say, NO.

Do you think the representative from the NHLPA stayed to hear what we had to say, NO.

But it was great to see that all the store owners did stay and heard some valuable information.

In fact, Brian Gray stated that he would bet his life that the MLBPA would give out a players-only license within the next six months. Now that’s news.

We answered some difficult questions and I found the panel discussion very worthwhile for the audience and the panel.

Well there you have it, my thoughts on the conference. Again, big props to Kevin and his staff for a job well done. Met some great people in industry and I will be back next year.

Brian Price

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