2020 Topps Industry Conference Live Blog

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News, insight and coverage from the 2020 Topps Industry Conference, February 23-25, 2020. 

Ryan returns to his old stomping grounds to see what is happening in the world of sports cards.

PODCAST: Show #231 2020 Topps Industry Conference Recap Show

Tuesday 1:49 pm

Group Breakers don't make money breaking Topps Transcendent Baseball. Sales don't equal profit. 

Tuesday 1:46 pm

Group Breakers pushing Topps to create a breaker friendly Topps Heritage sku.

Tuesday 1:33 pm

Topps: 'The Rock' autographs are almost impossible to get into a product. Hulk Hogan is very difficult.

Tuesday 1:25 pm

Topps looking to launch new case break event at The National 2020. Similar to The Million Card Rip Party.

Tuesday 1:14 pm

Some shop owners (that have a direct account with Topps) are frustrated that they are required to buy a minimum amount of product, but group breakers are not. 

Tuesday 1:08 pm

Despite a booming sports card market, Topps was worried at the start of 2019 when Series 1 Baseball didn't sell as well as anticipated. 2020 has started off much better according to Topps GM David Leiner.

Tuesday 11:25 am

If you saw some previews of a new Topps Chrome Basketball, Topps GM David Leiner said that product doesn't exist anymore. 

Tuesday 11:18 am

2020 Topps Series 1 saw about a 10% increase in production over 2019 S1.

Tuesday 10:52 am

Neil Young "Keep on Rocking in the Free World" playing during a break in the conference. 

Tuesday 10:24 am

If you buy Scott's "Miracle-Gro" there is a chance you'll find Topps baseball cards inside someday. 

Tuesday 9:46 am

National Baseball Card Day will be three weekends in a row this year. 

Tuesday 9:08 am

Topps creating new program "1/1."

People will be able to make their own card, design, pick image, and bring it to an event to get signed by an athlete. 

Tuesday 9:05 am

Topps Star Wars stuff

Tuesday 9:02 am

Topps WWE stuff

Tuesday 8:57 am

Topps MLS stuff

Tuesday 8:55 am

New Topps licenses

Tuesday 8:50 am

2020 Topps Transcendent details

Tuesday 8:48 am

2020 Topps Allen & Ginter Chrome. Hobby only

Tuesday 8:48 am

2020 Topps Big League

Tuesday 8:43 am

2020 Topps Pro Debut getting Jumbo boxes

Tuesday 8:43 am

2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Update

Tuesday 8:41 am

2020 Topps Sterling

Tuesday 8:41 am

Luis Robert will be in Series 2

Tuesday 8:37 am

Idea to put box topper in jumbo products came from a dealer. 

Tuesday 8:35 am

New Topps brand manager, Aaron Abrams, used to work at Upper Deck.

Tuesday 8:28 am

Pearl Jam "Jeremy" playing just before conference starts. 

At home drawing pictures... of mountain tops....... with him on top......

Tuesday 8:27 am

A little warmer if you sit toward the back of the room.

Tuesday 8:18 am

Dealer: "I'm so tired I was up until 3 am." 

Tuesday 8:15 am

Free stuff from Topps. 

Tuesday 8:12 am

Metallica 'Enter Sandman' playing as dealers eat breakfast.

Tuesday 7:47 am

Last day of the conference. Kris Bryant was the guest at the axe throwing event. If it was Buster Posey and I missed it, I would have felt a twinge of regret. 

Monday 5:08 pm

Skipping the axe throwing event to hang out with a girl I met while living in Arizona. 

Monday 4:09 pm

Shop owner Indy Card Exchange has over 600 active kids club members. Over 150 have signed up this year alone. 

Monday 4:01 pm

Dealer asked audience what to give girls who come into the shop and don't collect cards, someone shouted, "Beanie Babies."

Monday 3:49 pm

Best dressed from this shop owner trio is "Meelypops" (far left). His shoe game elevated him to the top.

Monday 3:29 pm

National Baseball Card Day is August 8. 

Monday 3:29 pm

Dealer: "It's so cold in here, that's why they gave us those free blankets."

Monday 3:25 pm

Single player electronic Craps machine. Wow, not sure I've seen that. Almost skipped the next presentation to fire off. 

Monday 3:00 pm

Soundgarden's 'Spoonman' being played during the snack break.

Monday 2:47 pm

Best dressed, Bundesliga presenter. 

Monday 2:32 pm

The MLS renewed its exclusive card license with Topps.

A complicated process this year, as the MLS players recently unionized. The players forced the league to seek bids from other card companies but Topps still prevailed. 

Monday 2:30 pm

The Vayner Media presentation ended with a video message from Gary Vee encouraging the group to use IG ads.

Monday 12:54 pm

Stone dead freezing in the conference room. Maybe the poor dealers buried under snow half the year are used to the cold temps. 

Monday 12:43 pm

Some of the beef with Tom Fish of Blowout Cards comes from the 2018 National.

Ryan was shooting a video of the wax box sellers at the show. It's something he's done for many years. The videos are positive and can be seen as free promotion for the companies there. 

Fish approached Ryan during this video and told him to stop filming the Blowout table.

The next day Ryan walked by the Blowout table and asked Fish in front a large group of people if "he fixed his website yet."

Monday 12:40 pm

There was a point in the Star Wars presentation when the bass from the movie trailer rattled a light fixture off the wall. Or was it "the force" they speak about?

Monday 12:30 pm

So far it's roughly the same content as the 2019 conference. Topps typically, even in their card sets, just copies the same playbook year after year. 

Monday 12:01 pm

Another beautiful day in Arizona. A truly charmed place. 

Monday 12:01 pm

The Star Wars presentation is always on point. I don't know much about the series, but I learn a lot during this conference. 

Disney+ had 28.6m subscriptions in its 1Q launch. The old movies can make as much as the new movies. 

I love how they clearly define their fanbase. From gamers, to collectors, to kids, it feels like the company has a plan for everyone. In my opinion, the same can't be said when Topps, Panini, or Upper Deck talks about the fanbase of card collectors. 

Monday 10:58 am

Sublime "Santeria" playing on the loud speaker before Star Wars presentation. 

Monday 10:45 am

A visibly angry Tom Fish of Blowout Cards verbally calls out Ryan of Sports Card Radio in the hallway. 

Fish: "You are garbage" 

Ryan: (fresh from a smoke break in the Tesla) "Why do you think that?"

Fish: "You and your site. You don't write about any of the other sites that crash. You are garbage."

Ryan: (still high) "I wrote about Topps?" (Actually twice. LOL. Topps Hacked, Topps Hacked Again)

Fish: (walking away) "You are a joke, you're garbage."

Ryan: (buzz not killed) "What other sites?"

Fish: (no response).

Monday 10:24 am

Break in the action until 11 am local time, a Star Wars presentation coming up next. 

Monday 10:10 am

Topps gave away a box of 2020 Topps Heritage Baseball. The product has not come out yet. 

Monday 10:10 am

Schaefer: doing contests to get positive reviews written about you online is illegal. 

Monday 10:04 am

Schaefer mentions Lululemon. A staple of the twins wardrobe. 

Interesting that two of the brands the twins promote, Lululemon and Tesla, were given as positive examples in marketing during the presentation. 

Monday 9:48 am

Schaefer mentions Tesla having a bigger market cap than Ford. 

I find it interesting that Tesla doesn't advertise and the only haters are people who can't afford the cars or are short the stock. 

Monday 9:45 am

I personally find many of the marketing and social media communication from dealers and breakers comes off as fake.

Monday 9:36 am

Keynote speaker Mark W. Schaefer giving a broad overview of marketing. 

Enjoyable for someone like me, but this group of shop owners, dealers, and breakers could perhaps use much more targeted content.

Monday 9:00 am

Topps MLB exclusive runs through 2025

Monday 8:52 am

Anonymous dealer: The Upper Deck Conference blows this one away.

Monday 8:51 am

Top selling MLB jerseys

Monday 8:47 am

Michael Posner, Director, Authentication at MLB going over some of the nuts and bolts events and reach of the league. 

Not much card content. 

Monday 8:35 am

Conference was sold out this year

Video message from Ryan Braun and other MLB players welcoming attendees. 

NO live video from the show. But you can live blog!

Monday 8:07 am

Another card trimmer exposed on Blowout Forum. Dennis Pevarnic of South Lake Tahoe, CA is accused of selling trimmed and altered cards mostly through card shows.

See more card trimmers on the Sports Card Radio homepage

Monday 8:03 am

Morning free stuff from Topps. Altuve was one of the worst autos you could hit. 

Monday 8:00 am

Aerosmith 'Janie Got a Gun' playing on the speakers as conference attendees eat breakfast. 

Monday 6:40 am

Last nights date went so well she ended up with Ryan's gray Lululemon hoodie!

Sunday 9:18 pm

Nobody else had a Rolex in the building. Most dealers are in a mode right now where they are spending like crazy to try and scale up their business. 

Sunday 8:30 pm

Angels prospect Jo Adell was feeling the Rolex.

Sunday 7:30 pm

Cut-off sleeve t-shirts are a bad look even for a semi casual event. 

Sunday 7:24 pm

Long conversation between GTS Distribution owner and Blowout Cards owner Tom Fish.

Sunday 7:22 pm

Angels prospect Jo Adell will sign autographs

Sunday 7:19 pm

The Spring Rolls were good

Sunday 6:52 pm

Overheard: "Last year we got a bunch of good free s*** from here. This year I know it's all down hill.

Sunday 6:50 pm

Guy to girl ratio 20:1.

Sunday 6:47 pm

Some signage and employees working 

Sunday 6:35 pm

Awkward moments sponsored by Sports Card Radio as several members of the Most Wanted List make efforts to avoid interaction in the tight hallways at the conference. 

Sunday 6:31 pm

Will there be a drunk version of Pack Wars from the "Rip Master" again like 2019?

Here is The Master doing a sober version of the game.

Sunday 6:25 pm

Rock memorabilia in the hotel lobby includes a guitar from Chris Isaak. The signer is from twin's hometown of Stockton, CA. 

Sunday 6:15 pm

A quick break in beautiful Arizona

Sunday 5:35 pm

Schedule for the conference.

Sunday 5:27 pm

In the discussion for worst dressed. Shorts WAAAAY too short, jersey looks like his little league one, might have suggested contact lenses if he has them when wearing a jersey.

A total mess.

Sunday 5:25 pm

What came inside the Topps Silver Pack

Sunday 5:22 pm

Free stuff handed out when you registered for the conference.

Sunday 3:14 pm

There is pole near Arizona State University with baseball cards stapled as high as you can reach.

Sunday 2:06 pm

Sports cards have been red hot. I expect to see these dealers looking crisp. Here is my day one outfit. Check back as I will critique the attire of some of the conference attendees. 

Shirt: '2 Legit' Essence Cannabis Dispensary - Las Vegas - T-Shirt
Pants: Lululemon ABC Pants - Size 34
Shoes: Jordan 6 Rings - Size 13
Watch: Rolex Daytona (Colin's)

Follow Ryan on Twitter for even more updates.

The best way to get ahold of Ryan during the show is to leave a comment on this page. DM's, emails and other requests will likely not be answered. 

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