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Recently I was asked to share how Upper Deck had learned to think differently with regards to marketing at the iMedia Brand Summit. My presentation began with a short video talking about the Star Rookie card we created for our good friend Jack Hoffman.

After the video I was excited to share stories about other inspirational athletes we have worked with like Doc Jacobs, Mandi Schwartz, Jack Miller, Sam Tageson and John Makowiec.

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It was a thrill to be able to present in front of so many savvy marketers for major brands as iMedia always does a great job of bringing incredible personalities together at this event. It was also important to share that we were not helping these inspirational athletes and their charities for any other reason than it was the right thing to do.

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My favorite part of the day however was bringing the trading cards to life for attendees. You see we brought in Doc Jacobs to sign autographs and pose for photos with attendees during the lunch session. Doc made headlines when he earned a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers and most recently the Chicago White Sox as a double amputee and Purple Heart recipient. For me it was great to see Doc again as he is a major inspiration for me, but I think attendees got a lot out of visiting with him as well.

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Honoring these inspirational athletes is the right thing to do and we appreciate all the support our fans have given them. It is exciting as we continue to add more athletes to this stable of “Heroic Inspirations” like we did most recently with Josh Harding. Look for more great stories to come in the future!

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Serious collectors love hard-signed autograph cards that the athlete has actually touched and handled, but getting those completed and back in house in time for the product pack out is not always easy. This is especially true when the product is a hand-painted set that requires approvals from the athletes depicted. Therefore it is a major achievement for Upper Deck to release 2014 Goodwin Champions with zero autograph redemptions in the product and multiple versions of hard-signed autograph cards from some of the biggest names in sports. There will be many first time signers to the product as well to keep the autograph line-up fresh, take a look at some of those names:

Michael Jordan
Tiger Woods
Wayne Gretzky
Ken Griffey
Lebron James
Joe Montana
Lindsey Vonn
Peyton Manning
Sydney Leroux
Rory McIlroy
Mark McGwire
Canelo Alverez
Eric Dickerson
Graeme McDowell
LaDainian Tomlinson
Karl Malone
Jerry Rice

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Additionally we will be bringing a premium memorabilia series to 2014 Goodwin Champions as well which should have collectors pretty fired up. Take a look at some of these preview images!

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Bryan Berg is a very extraordinary individual to say the least who is passionate about building amazing structures out of playing and trading cards. One of his favorite parts of the process however is the demolition of his incredible creations. Known as the Cardstacker, Bryan creates a variety of impressive structures at events around the world.

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Bryan has worked with Upper Deck in the past and he has an appreciation for our products. As we discussed the 25th Anniversary of Upper Deck, he had an idea of a cool build he wanted to do that would involve a fun demolition, and like that he was off to work on this creation. He was good enough to get the entire build, demolition and rebuild all on video, check out his tribute to Upper Deck’s 25th Anniversary!

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Things have been busier than normal at Upper Deck headquarters. Not only is the company ramping up in anticipation of the new exclusive agreement between Upper Deck, the NHL® and the NHLPA, but we are also in the midst of a variety of celebrations tied to the company’s 25th Anniversary. Given the strong tie fans have to that 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, there has been a lot of attention to that milestone bringing reporters out of the woodwork to find out what Upper Deck has been up to since then. Now collectors of course know what has been going on at Upper Deck and recently fans shared some of their favorite cards and moments from the last 25 years at Upper Deck, but most of the public isn’t as aware.

Upper Deck has made the most of the opportunity by doing a number of interviews with different media across the United States and Canada in particular. It is our hope that we can maximize this opportunity to share what has been happening in collectibles to potentially re-engage lapsed collectors and reach new potential fans. Check out just some of the stories and interviews we have done as of late:

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CBS Morning News in San Diego stopped by corporate headquarters to interview staff and see how UD brings cards to life!

The Coast News pays a visit to Upper Deck headquarters and talks trading cards with UD’s President Jason Masherah.

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Cynopsis Sports asks Jason Masherah about some of the key happenings at Upper Deck these days.

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Baseball superstar Ken Griffey Jr. did a variety of media about Upper Deck’s 25th Anniversary.

ESPN talks with Ken Griffey Jr. about his 1989 Upper Deck rookie card and collectibles.

Upper Deck’s President Jason Masherah gives some updates on the company to the Sports Business Journal.

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Upper Deck is featured in Non-Sports Update talking about the company’s entertainment offerings over the last 25 years.

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Upper Deck also had a HUGE spread on the cover of the San Diego Union Tribune’s Sports section.

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Every year at the annual Industry Summit, Upper Deck enjoys the opportunity to spend time with hobby shop owners who are looking to improve their businesses. Those in attendance represent some of the most motivated small business owners in the United States and Canada who come not only to learn, but to share. For helping Upper Deck to reach 25 years in business, we worked hard to make the event memorable for everyone in attendance.

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By the end of the event, this wall was covered in messages from dealers congratulating Upper Deck on 25 years in the business.

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UD’s booth was at the center of the room and had tons of items to check out.

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One of the most talked about items on display was Upper Deck’s new Black Diamond Hockey Rookie Gems Quad Diamond cards. There are four 1 carat diamonds in every card!

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Another favorite with shops was Tim Carroll’s Ken Griffey Jr. mosaic.

Upper Deck started the show by having shop owners share their well wishes and favorite moments from the last 25 years in the industry on a special memory wall featuring the company’s top spokesmen. Upper Deck also shared special 25th Anniversary shirts with attendees which were a huge hit. And the Upper Deck booth was something to see as the company had a huge area at the front of the room where we showed off a variety of awesome Upper Deck Authenticated memorabilia, super-premium trading cards and an amazing mosaic from artist Tim Carroll featuring Ken Griffey Jr. that UD recently had Junior autograph during a signing session & media tour.

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Magazine Exchange’s box hockey game was a huge hit with several dealers talking about building similar versions when they returned home.

Additionally, Magazine Exchange kicked off a very fun and co-branded box hockey game at their booth that created some big crowds to see what all the commotion was about.

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The team from Sports Images led by Matt Lane shows off their award from retailers celebrating 25 years of industry excellence. Upper Deck and Ultra Pro received similar awards that evening.

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Dealers had a lot of fun taking part in the industry’s first-ever beer pong tournament.

That evening was a special welcome reception for attendees celebrating the 25th anniversary of not only Upper Deck, but also for one of the industry’s top distributors, Sports Images and the beloved supply company Ultra-Pro. Hobby shop owners surprised all three companies by awarding them with special trophies as thanks for all their help over the years. It was a fun-filled evening with great food, live music, cool promos and even beer pong.

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ESPN’s Mint Condition filmed three segments with Upper Deck including this piece about Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James in the world of collectibles.

On Monday shops were busy attending meetings and panels. Upon completing the Meet the Manufacturer portion of the event, many attendees were gifted with a special 5-card 25th Anniversary promo set from Upper Deck. Once the show floor opened however, the Upper Deck booth was the prime meeting point for attendees and ESPN’s Mint Condition stopped in to film three segments for the popular hobby show.

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A cake 25 years in the making!

Upper Deck brought in a HUGE anniversary cake to share with all the attendees to thank them for making the last 25 years so sweet! It was delicious!

Later in the evening, Upper Deck was a special guest at a dinner hosted by Universal Distribution. Dozens of hobby shops were in attendance and it was really special to share ideas in a laid back setting for upcoming hockey releases in particular.

rised all three companies by awarding them with special trophies as thanks for all their help over the years. It was a fun-filled evening with great food, live music, cool promos and even beer pong.

Tuesday was a big day for Upper Deck where the company co-hosted a lunch with the NHL® and the NHLPA. It was a fun session for shops to learn about some of the top future prospects in the league. Then came the Upper Deck corporate address where Upper Deck’s president, Jason Masherah, addressed the Certified Diamond Dealers in attendance sharing one key point, “Upper Deck is the only company that only sells hobby product to hobby shops.” Then it was on to Grant Sandground who shared some exciting new products with attendees like Upper Deck SEC Football and the All-Time Greats Master CollectionMore details to come on both of those stellar products. I enjoyed providing a little comic relief during the event sharing some fun prizes as we talked about the innovation Upper Deck brought to the market over the years. We finished the address by awarding Ken Richardson of Pastime Sports & Games with the annual Steve James award.

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What a thrill pulling a UD Wayne Gretzky autograph from the LVIS 25th Anniversary packs!

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Pulling an autograph card of Peyton Manning had this shop owner wearing a big smile!

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Charlie takes pulling a Tiger Woods autograph almost as serious as Tiger takes playing golf on Sundays!

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A pair of baseball greats were pulled with Ken Griffey Jr. and Reggie Jackson autographs from the UD Las Vegas Industry Summit 25th Anniversary packs!

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This dealer was in disbelief after pulling a dual autograph of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

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There were also awesome instant redemptions for signed UDA memorabilia. Dean got the top prize with this amazing Michael Jordan signed collage.

The moment that had everyone buzzing however was at the end of the event where we awarded attendees with special Las Vegas Industry Summit packs. With an autograph in every pack from sports superstars along with five instant redemption cards good for Upper Deck Authenticated memorabilia. Check out the checklist for the set! n did a bit of a putting clinic with some lucky shop owners. And we also held the expired redemption raffle that afternoon where again, everyone who participated in the promotion, won a prize with them all being shipped out this week and next.

2014 Las Vegas Industry Summit 25th Anniversary Checklist
Card # Player name
LV-AG Alex Galchenyuk
LV-BO Bobby Orr
LV-DP Danica Patrick
LV-FT Frank Thomas
LV-KG Ken Griffey Jr.
LV-LJ LeBron James SP
LV-MJ Michael Jordan SP
LV-OD Oscar De La Hoya
LV-PM Peyton Manning SP
LV-RJ Reggie Jackson
LV-TW Tiger Woods SP
LV-WG Wayne Gretzky SP
LV2-DA Oscar De La Hoya/Canelo Alvarez #’d to 15
LV2-OG Wayne Gretzky/Bobby Orr #’d to 10
LV2-TC Will Clark/Frank Thomas #’d to 35
LV2-WM Tiger Woods/Rory McIlroy #’d to 3
LV4-GJWG Gretzky/Griffey Jr./Jordan/Woods #’d to 3
LV-RED UDA Instant Redemption (5 total)
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Upper Deck partnered with GTS to bring in Blair O’Neal to the show to sign autographs and spend time with dealers, she was great!

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Lucky attendees walked away with one of these signed blow-up cards from Blair O’Neal.

Later on that afternoon Upper Deck partnered with GTS Distribution to bring an amazing young professional golfer, Blair O’Neal, to the show for autographs and photos.  Attendees thoroughly enjoyed her appearance and she even did a bit of a putting clinic with some lucky shop owners. And we also held the expired redemption raffle that afternoon where again, everyone who participated in the promotion, won a prize with them all being shipped out this week and next.

Wednesday was the close of the show, but there was still plenty going on as Upper Deck’s Mike Phillips helped moderate a panel on distribution. That afternoon Mike and I made ourselves available for a Q&A Session where we brainstormed some new ideas with shop owners.

All in all it was an amazing event that anyone who owns a hobby shop should be a part of. Our main goal was to help, educate and thank those shops who have served Upper Deck on the front lines throughout our 25-year history. The main thing collectors seem to be talking about however are the special Las Vegas Industry Summit 25th Anniversary packs we created. Yes, they are pretty cool, but we created them exclusively for hobby shops in attendance at the event. But here’s the thing, we couldn’t have made it 25 years without collectors as well, so we went ahead a produced a few extra packs to use with you for promotional purposes.

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You can score one of these amazing 2014 Upper Deck Las Vegas Industry Summit 25th Anniversary packs just by doing something nice to help hobby shops!

If you are looking for a pack experience like no other, here is your chance to get one for FREE! What would you do for a 2014 Upper Deck Las Vegas Industry Summit 25th Anniversary pack? Since the show was all about helping the hobby shop, we want to see what you can do to help these small businesses be successful. We are challenging you this week to help a hobby shop somehow and share with us what you did by emailing us at UpperDeckMarketing@upperdeck.com.

Help us make the hobby better by giving some of your time to help a local shop. And if you don’t have a local card shop, maybe you can do something for an Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer or Authorized Group Breaker you enjoy purchasing Upper Deck products through. Or maybe you have a great idea for a hobby shop program to help this category of trade? Email us that information and we will go from there. We are looking for some of the best, most creative forms of assistance to hobby shops and if we like what we see, you may just end up with one of these special packs. So what are you waiting for? Let’s help some shops!

Promotion details – You have until Monday morning at 8:00a.m., March 31 to accomplish your goodwill gesture to a hobby shop and report back to us at UpperDeckMarketing@upperdeck.com. Please make sure to include the name, address and contact you worked with at the shop to make it happen. Images and videos showing your goodwill gesture would be helpful for our decision making process. Up to five 2014 Upper Deck Las Vegas Industry Summit 25th Anniversary packs may be awarded and should we receive a significant amount of messages we will also award runner-up gifts of 25th Anniversary promo sets.

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