Recently, I talked about Upper Deck's recent woes involving the loss of their license with Major League Baseball and the subsequent lawsuits filed when they brazenly released several 2010 sets complete with team logos and uniforms. At the time, I truly felt like the company would be OK as long as they were somehow able to keep a license with the NFL and the NFLPA. Things seemed to headed in that direction when the NFLPA marketing arm announced a 2-year renewal of Upper Deck's license through 2011.
Today, however, brings a much different story. While Upper Deck's PR shill tried to his best to make it sound like there could be some sort of NFL-related release for 2010, I can't believe the company would touch any sort of pro football product with a 10 foot pole given the baseball legal mess and the millions it cost them.
So now it's down to the NHL and NCAA collegiate cards for Upper Deck in the Sports category. Time will tell if that is enough to sustain the company, but in the short term, things definitely don't look good. Upper Deck and Topps are the two card companies whose name transcends the product they sell and has penetrated the mainstream. At the moment, they seem headed in opposite directions. Topps, under the leadership of former CEO Michael Eisner, has a hot product with Topps Attax, which seems to be having some inital success at luring kids back from collecting mostly non-sports related cards since the boom of the early 90's. Upper Deck might find themselves on a far more dubious list if their losing streak continues.