Topps reiterated plans to continue producing football cards in 2016, despite the loss of its NFLPA license following the upcoming season. Company officials also discussed redemption cards, customer service and other issues with a few dozen collectors, shop owners and others who turned out for its annual Q&A session/trivia contest at the National Sports Collectors Convention Saturday.
Last July, Panini America secured the exclusive rights to produce cards featuring current players. Topps officials didn’t release specific plans for football in 2016, but it’s possible they could focus on sets of Hall of Famers and other retired players.
Don’t look for Topps to get into the NASCAR trading card arena, but it will actively pursue winning back the right to produce basketball cards before the NBA license comes up for renewal and, related to that, expressed some interest in making WNBA cards eventually as well. Panini is the NBA’s current licensee.
Collectors at the meeting also expressed continued frustration with unfulfilled redemption cards. Topps insisted it was continuing to work on limiting the number of redemptions in its products, stating that athletes who are uncooperative or slow to respond make the process challenging,
Addressing complaints about its customer service department, Topps stated it had invested significant amounts of money in resources to improve its handling of consumer issues but encouraged collectors to call early in the day for the best chance to speak with a representative in a timely fashion. They say emails from the same people often slow down reps’ abilities to respond. The company admitted that its issues with redemption cards were difficult to manage because of logistics, indicating they would likely “never be able to satisfy everyone”.
Another attendee expressed the ongoing concern about pack searching, especially at the retail level and the company responded by stating that it is working to change its packaging in an attempt to make products virtually unsearchable.
Interestingly, Topps also admitted that seeing an insert card numbered to a certain level doesn’t mean that many cards have been distributed. Its print runs are based on orders and autographs are sometimes those numbers are adjusted downward with assurance that they meet odds stated on the wrappers. Topps insisted that it never produces more cards than the number stated, but sometimes the number is a bit less. In other words, collecting all 299 serial numbered cards—should you be inclined to do so—isn’t possible 100 percent of the time.
Topps says it will continue efforts to get more youngsters involved in collecting, promising it will pass out five million free packs of cards before the end of summer.