Sales of Topps NOW cards have surpassed 500,000 in the program’s first seven months.
Available for 24 hours, NOW cards proved to be popular with traditional collectors but Topps says they also helped to “re-engage thousands of fans, especially millennials.”
Priced at $9.99 and less in quantity, NOW commemorated moments and milestones from the season. Typically, at least a couple of cards were offered each day of the baseball season. Later in the season, Topps also introduced low-numbered relics and autographs as additional purchasing options. The cards were delivered in a few days, where in past years fans had to wait until the next year’s set to collect the images. The company finished the run last week with a set celebrating the Chicago Cubs.
“This is something we’ve wanted for a long time, a way to turn product around very quickly and give fans something to remember events as they were happening,” said Jeff Heckman, Topps director of new product development and e-commerce marketplace. “We’ve finally refined the model, and it’s exceeded our wildest expectations.”
Topps produced 665 different NOW cards during the 2016 season. Team sets for each of the 10 playoff clubs were also produced. Over 500 moments have been highlighted with cards, ranging from Ichiro Suzuki’s 3,000th hit, to rookie appearances, no-hitters, memorable plays and the Hall of Fame inductions of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza last summer.
All 30 teams received more than one card, with the Chicago Cubs (38 cards plus postseason), Boston Red Sox (36 plus postseason), and the New York Yankees (28) having the most. The top players in the regular season were David Ortiz with eight cards, and Ichiro and Chicago’s Kris Bryant with six each. Topps has also sold over 9,000 sets of Chicago Cubs World Series sets as well.
Ichiro’s 3,000th hit had the one day sales record of over 11,550 cards sold, with the New York Mets’ Bartolo Colon second with over 8,000 cards delivered following the All-Star pitcher’s first home run against the San Diego Padres in May. The Cubs World Series winning card was third with over 6,000 sold, followed by Yankee youngsters Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin who appeared on one card that sold over 5,000 copies when they hit back-to-back home runs in their first MLB plate appearances in August. The first Topps NOW commemorative relic card offer which featured All-Star Game MVP Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals sold out in just 20 minutes.
Topps is currently producing cards for post-season award winners—again, available for just 24 hours. These, however, aren’t considered part of the main 2016 NOW set and carry an “OS” (off-season) numbering designation.
While the cards are no longer available on the company’s website beyond the initial 24-hour period, many are still available on eBay.
The NOW platform has also been launched with Topps partners like the UFC, the Premier League, Major League Soccer, and WWE.