Panini America plans to stop putting redemption cards inside its sports card packs in the next several months. The company said Tuesday it would be implementing a new Panini Rewards program later this spring aimed at putting an end to collectors’ frustrations over long waits for autographed cards.
Instead of player-specific redemption cards, Panini will put a point value on them. Those points can then be redeemed for in-house products that can be shipped in short order.
The program "is about giving collectors a choice rather than waiting on guys they don't care about," the company shared via Twitter Tuesday evening. They stated their goal is to continue to put marquee player autographs live into packs.
The issue largely stems from athletes who fail to fulfill their agreement to sign cards or stickers in a timely fashion. When the cards promised to collectors in promotional material for a certain release aren’t ready when products are packaged for shipping, card manufacturers have been putting the IOUs inside packs. Collectors rarely know how long they’ll have to wait for the player to sign, send the cards back to the card company and for the company to return the autograph to the collector. In many cases, those ‘winning’ cards have taken 2-3 years to actually find their way to the recipient.
It’s been an ongoing issue and one that’s caused enormous frustration for collectors of current era cards who are motivated by the possibility of pulling a potentially valuable autographed card from a pack. The redemption cards do sell. This Kyrie Irving autograph from Immaculate Basketball brought a good price recently, but many times potential buyers can't be certain when--or if--they'll ever get what's promised.
While full details of the Panini Rewards program haven’t been released yet, Panini does say it will be available in a cell phone app as well as a standard website. Once the Panini Rewards Program launches in late-May with the release of 2014 Score Football, collectors will have the chance to use their points immediately for any available single cards, or accumulate points to earn higher-value cards, other collectibles and what's being described as "unique Panini experiences".
Panini says it worked with Kodak to develop a platform that would enable it to showcase the cards in high resolution.
They promised to provide more information on the program closer to its launch. They say they've been working on it for nearly two years.
The company already operates a Rewards system inside its Panini Authentic autographed memorabilia line. There, the Reward Points Program allows customers to earn points for certain actions taken on the website including purchases and customer actions such as submitting reviews.
Panini also announced Tuesday it would be producing football cards under the ultra-high end Flawless brand it debuted with this year’s basketball releases. The price point will be less than the $1,200 it was charging for Flawless basketball, which was released amid much fanfare, in a metal briefcase.
The company will also create an Immaculate Baseball product, despite not having an official MLB license with game-used cleat cards part of the chase.
Panini will also produce its popular National Treasures Baseball again late this year. The debut run was among the most successful products of 2013.