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TRADING CARD INDUSTRY LOOKS STRONG
Published October 17, 1994
In Saturday's TAMPA TRIBUNE, Bob Chick by-lined an in-depth profile of the U.S. trading card industry, which posted sales of $1.7B in 1994. "Cards have always survived. From cigarette and tobacco products of the early 1900s to caramel and chewing gum they have weathered financial storms and forecasts of doom." But, Chick warns that "the make-a-bundle quick is the Achilles' heel of the card business and more so in 1994 with a frazzled market and an abundance of product." HIGHLIGHTS AND NUMBERS: Baseball accounts for roughly 50 out of every 100 card sales, basketball 25, football 15, and hockey 10; Fleer reported revenue of $231M in 1993 and expects $300M this year; Upper Deck is aiming for a 30% market share in 1995 and "is moving into Mexico with football cards in Spanish and into part of Europe with its basketball line"; Fleer, Upper Deck, and Topps "control between 75 and 80 percent of all sales"; in 1993 there were approximately 525 national and regional trading card sets for baseball, basketball, football and hockey -- "about half that number flowed into the market from normal industry channels, the other half from food, beverage, restaurants, etc." (Bob Chick, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/15).