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The Non-Industry Summit

February 21, 2014

By now most collectors, dealers, distributors, licensors and manufacturers know about the debacle once known as the Industry Summit.

For the few that don’t let me give you some of the “goings on” over the last few months.

At least two companies have not been invited to attend, Leaf and In The Game.

Leaf actually applied for a booth online and their application was accepted. Then Kevin Issacson who runs the Summit uninvited Leaf and its President/Owner Brian Gray. It seems that Brian Gray  gave a keynote presentation to kick off the 2013 Summit in which he seemed to ruffle the feathers of some of the big manufacturers and licensors.

My company, In The Game on the other hand, emailed Kevin about our attendance start this November.

Kevin was difficult to get ahold of. Several times he told us to call back in a few days as he was dealing with family matter but didn’t respond when we did call back.

On January 6, 2014, after daily emails from me for a week, Kevin emailed me and said he was on holidays and he would contact me upon his return to the office, he also assured me that there was nothing to be concerned about since we didn’t sign our agreement for the 2013 Summit  until February 16th of 2013. I responded that he was correct about the date of the agreement but that we were confirmed much earlier and were making arrangements for the Summit in December 2012. Hotels and travel had to be booked and sample cards and promotional materials had to be designed and produced. That takes time.

From that point on, Kevin did not respond to any of my last sixteen emails. Total silence.

Brian Gray and Leaf chose to sue Kevin and the Summit. I just wanted an answer from Kevin about our participation.

I posted an open letter to Kevin on several of the hobby boards and still no answer from him.

Yesterday a story was posted by Beckett:

http://www.beckett.com/news/2014/02/leaf-itg-apparently-not-invited-to-the-industry-summit/#comments

While I understand that the story is very vanilla, I can appreciate that Beckett is going to the Summit this year and chose not to do an expose.

What was interesting to me were some of the replies of collectors. Here is one that is right on point.

I would be interested to hear the logic / reasoning behind this. I see the attending list includes :

– Press Pass, who has zero license for any product, but continues to produce products with blank helmets and workout gear.

– TriStar – who, like Leaf, simply repackages other companies auto’d cards (albeit with the autos cut off the cards, and just the auto trapped in their “cards”) and also has zero license for the cards they produce.

– Onyx Authenticated – Who outside of their auto’d and game worn merchandise products, also makes a card product that is in no way licensed or authorized by any existing baseball authority.

– Heroes of Sport – ALSO a company who ONLY repackages other companies cards and redeems items authenticated by other companies.

– Benchwarmers – Do I have to say it?? What do these pervs do except objectify women?

Meanwhile Leaf actually has multiple entertainment licenses including Muhammad Ali and the new Vampire Academy movie cards. (Hey, I’m not a fan of their stuff either, but I don’t see how they are somehow less than the above companies).

In The Game has been a well known company in this business since before most, if not all the companies above have been in existence. They have an agreement with minor leagues, often showcase international prospects before the other guys have ever heard of the players, as well as personal contracts with multiple retired greats of hockey.

Again, my comment isn’t to argue FOR their inclusions (although I don’t see why they AREN’T there), it’s more a question why is one company in, and another out.

To me, Kevin is a coward by not responding to us. We supported his show the last four years and he owed us a rely to our countless emails and telephone calls.

I hope that Brian Gray’s lawsuit exposes all of the parties that conspired to make these decisions but until then I will refer to this event as the Non-Industry Summit. It can’t be an Industry Summit until they allow companies that are part of the industry to participate.

That’s how I feel about the whole thing. I wanted to be there to support the hobby but won’t be. Personally, I will spend the time with my grandchildren, it will be much more enjoyable.

Maybe I will take my 5 year grandson to a Leaf or a Raptors game or my granddaughter to the Science Centre.

Brian Price

 

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