Monday, March 23, 2009

Slow Sales Lead In the Game to Cut Production

I just received an email blast from In the Game that openly speaks of poor sales for their upcoming goalie-centric 2008-09 Between the Pipes Hockey set. Rather than cancelling the set entirely or delaying it, production was cut resulting in better insertion rates for autograph, memorabilia and Masked Men inserts. So if you are busting boxes, you're going to get better value than what the packaging tells you. Exactly how much more wasn't announced, though.

This announcement says a couple of things about the current state of the hobby. The first is that these are tough times for the manufacturers. In the last two weeks we've had Inkworks go under and Donruss sold to Panini. Coming out and publicly saying sales stink shows that others are hurting too.

That leads into my second point. By letting the cat out of the bag about better than originally stated insertion rates, In the Game is giving collectors a sales pitch. That's when it was said in advance. Now those that might have been on the fence before might be swayed by something a little extra. That's what happened with me a few months back with Topps' Indiana Jones Masterpieces. At first it was one sketch card per box. When the product hit everyone was getting two. Yet Topps didn't advertise the obvious slash in production. However, it was enough to sway me into getting a box.

The production slash will also give the appearance of a short run. But isn't it more with supply meeting demand? I'm sure there will be a bit of a sales blip for In the Game. Maybe it'll be big. But in the bigger scheme of things, if these are the new sales tactics, I can't help but wonder if there's bigger issues on the horizon for another manufacturer.

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