But the 1980s saw the coming of Fleer and Donruss, followed by Score and Upper Deck; the 1990s brought Pacific into the mainstream. 1989 also saw the first non-flagship set, when Topps brought back the Bowman line. Then came the 1990s, when companies made dozens of sets each. Those were wonderful times. Those were dark times.
Things happened. Companies bought other companies. Companies went bankrupt and came back from the dead. And companies just decided to stop making cards.
By the end of the 2005 baseball season, Fleer had gone bankrupt and the Donruss/Score/Playoff group lost their license, leaving only Topps and Upper Deck. Upper Deck would lose their license in 2009, leaving Topps as the only company allowed to make baseball cards with MLB team logos.
Panini bought Playoff and all of the card brands that come with it to produce basketball cards, but nearly a decade ago they also acquired an MLBPA license. Since then, the conversation has come up multiple times about Panini getting to put "Tigers" on a card instead of just "Detroit".
Topps recently (in 2018) extended their agreement and has exclusivity through 2025.
Here are some reasons why I think Panini should be granted an MLB license.
I certainly would understand not renewing Upper Deck's MLB license back then, given their controversies - counterfeiting, reprinting, litigious practices. But for the better part of a decade, it seems to me that Panini has been trying to play fair.
|Not my image.|
|Not my image.|
The high-end sets have uninspired hits on uninspired, unremarkable designs. Many of Topps' recent sets have been reboots of previous lines - Stadium Club, Gold Label, Gallery, High Tek. Inserts in most of the sets just try to cram as many stars as possible without really focusing on a theme.
Having a real competitor would force Topps to produce cards that collectors really want to choose over another company's. Competition brings innovation.
Are there any other reasons you can think of that Panini should get an MLB license? For now, I'm only focusing on the reasons they should; save your arguments against for later, when I can write that post as well.