Although I was born in the ’80s, musically, I’m not a child of the ’80s, rather, I am a teen of the ’90s. I’ve written previously about the fact that I continue to adore both the cards and music of the ’90s. The song “We Built this City” by Starship came out smack in the middle of the ’80s and honestly, annoys me greatly. However the phrase “we built this…..” is an oft said one and thus the annoyance resurfaces, as someone who was born after 1985 interrupts a company meeting to cut off the CEO as he says “we built this organization on…..” here comes the kid….. “ROCK AND ROLL!!” Thus Starship remains in our conscience, despite the fact that their relevance has long since passed….and so have many of the former members.
So, the question becomes, if there was a song about FCB, set as a parody of “We Built this City”, what pray tell would the catchiest line that won’t leave our heads be? I would advocate for “we built this forum, we built this forum on baseball cards!” And it’s true, baseball cards dominate the landscape here at FCB and it still seems to me that no matter where you go whether it be a shop, a show, a forum or other hobby outlets – baseball cards are at the core of any of these things. There is tradition in baseball cards not found in other sports cards and frankly, there is tradition and longevity in the sport of baseball itself. Think about it this way, the grand majority of the subjects in the Leaf Oval Office product lived in a time where baseball was played.
All this however, should not distract us from the fact that the landscape of American sports has changed a great deal over the past couple of decades. Soccer and professional bowling have absolutely taken over, or not. Football, football, football, football and no, not the futbol americano variety. From a viewership, revenue and general overall following perspective, football is the game today. Rabid followings exist for both college football teams and for NFL teams – in some cases there is overlap but there are certainly large and distinct groups that follow both the NFL and college. As I was thinking about the early release of 2012 NFL football products this week, it was something that struck me – this is a large part of the reason that licensing matters less than many of us thought it did.
People are buying Robert Griffin cards from 2012 Leaf Metal at absurd prices because they love his absurd upside, mostly from an NFL perspective. However, there are also dorks like me bidding on A.J. Jenkins cards, not because we are sure he will light it up in the NFL but because we think there’s a least a small chance and because we love the Illinois jersey in the photo. That’s the thing with the non-licensed cards – the college jerseys (logos or not) attract more buyers. There are many who like Mark Barron in an Alabama jersey, versus whatever jersey he’ll wear on Sunday and that’s significant. It’s important because it means higher secondary market value, which means collectors will open packs, which means manufacturers will make more and better products early on. If you don’t believe me then check the prices being realized by early Leaf Metal sales.
I personally love it, I’m all for more products, more diversity in products and manufacturers trying new things. To some degree the licensing issue has forced the hand of some, to do just that and now collectors get to reap the benefits. I’m also just excited because it means more new product for the card world at large and that’s always fun. Every time the consensus says, oh, this issue will kill the market, the market comes along and figures out a new way to draw people in and the cycle is certainly fun to watch.