The following statement was sent to Wax Heaven by Topps:
“We’ve had a strong relationship with the NBA, but the deal they made with Panini does not make economic sense for Topps. It may be great for the NBA, but the value wasn’t there for us and we’ve decided to invest elsewhere for the time being. We wish our colleagues at the NBA well and look forward to working with them in the future.”
The following statement is on Upper Deck’s website:
While Upper Deck is disappointed with the NBA’s decision to grant exclusive trading card rights to a new licensee, they are reinforcing their commitment to producing the highest quality, most innovative and value-rich basketball products.
“Our focus remains on delivering great products to the loyal collectors and consumers who have passionately supported Upper Deck basketball products. We are confident the remaining 2008-09 NBA sets will be some of the best our industry has ever seen,” said Upper Deck’s VP of Sports Bernd Becker.
Upper Deck was granted a license to produce NBA trading cards in 1991 and shortly thereafter became the dominant market share leader in the category. They currently hold exclusive, multi-year autograph contracts with Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.
Specific plans for the remaining 2008-2009 Upper Deck basketball brands will be announced in the coming weeks.