New products, new deals and some tips for store owners were part of the first full day of Upper Deck’s Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
The company is hosting hobby shop owners, online sellers and others closely associated with its business at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. According to Upper Deck, attendees are from the U.S., Canada, Europe and China.
The big news of the day included the announcement that Upper Deck will continue as the exclusive trading card partner of the NHL and NHLPA. That continues an industry trend with exclusives now the norm for MLB (Topps), NBA (Panini) and NFL (Panini) also locked up. There was no word on the length of the contract Upper Deck will operate under for hockey cards.
The 2018-19 NHL season marks the 29th straight year of Upper Deck hockey, a partnership that dates back to the 1990-91 season. Upper Deck became the first exclusive trading card partner of the NHL and NHLPA from 2004 through 2009-10 and has held similar rights since the 2014-15 season.
“We are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Upper Deck and look forward to continuing to grow the profile of our players through these iconic collectibles,” said Sandra Monteiro, Chief of Global Business Strategies for the NHLPA. “Under this partnership, both the players – and the sport in general – will benefit from Upper Deck’s commitment to expanding the reach of NHL cards to younger collectors through digital and in-store programs.”
The Certified Diamond Dealers Conference kicked off Tuesday night with an appearance by Wally Joyner and a visit to the Sports Museum of Los Angeles, a private memorabilia collection housing items owned by long-time collector Gary Cypres.
— Steel City Collectibles – Retail Store (@steelcitycoll) January 9, 2019
— Upper Deck (@UpperDeckSports) January 9, 2019
Business and social media-oriented presentations were held on Wednesday. The NHL and NHLPA also made presentations.
@JRQuestus is dropping some knowledge on attendees at the 2019 #CDDConference. Incredible to have a speaker of his caliber joining us today sharing his thoughts on advertising, family marketing and how consumers make purchasing decisions. pic.twitter.com/hKMA2iVuDQ
— Upper Deck (@UpperDeckSports) January 9, 2019
In addition to the NHL licensing deal, Upper Deck made several other announcements during the day including:
- New exclusive autograph agreements with Jack Eichel and Nico Hischier that will result in some signed rookie cards in retro fashion. The two had been under auto deals with Leaf, meaning neither had signed NHL-licensed rookie cards during their actual rookie season.
Upper Deck announced today at the 2019 #CDDConference the company has signed autograph trading card deals with Jack Eichel and Nico Hischier. Look for their first hard-signed autograph cards in 2018-19 NHL SP Authentic! More details to come!
(Card imagery is subject to change) pic.twitter.com/ouS9OCrZLS
— Upper Deck (@UpperDeckSports) January 10, 2019
- An exclusive partnership announcement with the NHL Alumni Association with access to 900 retired players.
- A new release called Buckets with a single autographed basketball per box and four boxes per case. Limited edition inscribed balls and bonus boxes featuring a ball and bonus jersey will be possible. Upper Deck has exclusive autograph deals with Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Ben Simmons, so look for signed balls from them mixed in to the checklist which includes current and former players.
- The 2018-19 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns checklist (below).
- Clear Cut NHL will be a freestanding release in June. Look for autographed versions of players from UD1 and UD2. Also iconic rookie Young Guns cards will be part of the mix.
- A new product called “O-Pee-Chee Coast to Coast”, produced as a promotion through Canadian Tire (the two combined for a trading card deal last season as well) will arrive in April and once again be exclusive to Canada.
- Upper Deck Premier NHL packs will carry six cards this season rather than seven but pricing drops from $275 to $220 per box. 1/1 parallels are back and include 2003/04 Retro Rookie Signatures.
- The debut of Chronology NHL, in the look of the company’s line from Upper Deck’s days as an NBA card licensee. The first Chronology hockey release will focus on retired players with a modern set to follow.
- Goodwin Champions will release just prior to the 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention.
Later in the evening, Wayne Gretzky stopped by for a meet and greet.
Some times you meet good ones and then the odd time you get to meet the Great One, thanks @UpperDeckSports @UpperDeckHockey for having Wayne come by the CDD Conference. #CDDConference pic.twitter.com/K9YrxZORzc
— Joe Daley's Sports & Framing (@JoeDaleySports) January 10, 2019
The conference wraps up Thursday.
Thanks to Mike Fruitman of Mike’s Stadium Sports Cards in Aurora, CO for providing us with some of the information from the conference. You can follow Mike on Twitter.