WILL MLBPA'S PACIFIC TRADING CARD DEAL RAISE THE IRE OF MLB?
The MLBPA "threw a high, hard one" at MLB, as it
granted Pacific Trading Cards an MLBPA license, putting MLB
in "an awkward position" which "could escalate tensions
between the licensing sides" of the league and the MLBPA,
according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. The deal comes "at
a time when they have at least paid lip service toward
working together for more synergistic marketing deals." MLB
now "must either capitulate to the [MLBPA], granting a
license ... or refuse and risk a resumption of hostilities."
One senior card industry exec said, "They were going to work
together and now the [MLBPA] is jamming this down their
throats." Pinnacle Brands Chair Jerry Meyer, noting the
number of card licensees: "I'm at a loss as to why anyone
would allow another company in considering the health of the
category." Lefton reports that industry estimates put the
deal at "close to" $4M, and "[m]any in the industry
interpreted the [MLBPA]'s move as a sign that it is strapped
for cash," a notion "rejected" by MLBPA Dir of Marketing
Judy Heeter. Lefton writes of "two larger issues" in this
case: the risk of "oversaturating an already oversaturated
category, perhaps killing it and driving one or more of the
licensees ... out of business," and "whether the two sides
will ever be able to work together" (BRANDWEEK, 3/30 issue).