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Headlines and Highlights: Week of August 11th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of August 11th
August 11, 2023
Keenan Flack

Fanatics Countersues Panini, Returns With Their Own Complaint

The News: Fanatics has responded to Panini’s antitrust lawsuit with a suit of their own. In the 60+ page response, Fanatics sues Panini for unfair competition–meaning the litany of lawsuit that they have brought against them. As well as for tortious interference, breach of obligation to negotiate in good faith resulting in Fanatics losing $200mm in “missed opportunities”. Fanatics also responds in detail to the arguments of Panini’s antitrust suit.

Fanatics Go On Offense: The filing’s introduction contains scathing remarks about Panini, describing them as complacent, stagnant, and hypocritical. Fanatics claims that Panini has funneled profits back to ownership in Italy instead of reinvesting in marketing/innovation/customer service. 

Customers Ain’t Happy: Fanatics brings up Panini’s extremely unpopular redemption program that has left numerous collectors waiting for their cards indefinitely. Allegedly, Panini has a 95% customer abandonment rate as well as an ‘F’ rating at the Better Business Bureau. This point is crystallized nicely in a few pages of the filing that contain dozens of tweets from collectors dissatisfied with Panini’s customer service.

So What?: This is just the beginning of a long cycle of disputes. Fanatics looks ready to fight Panini not only on every point of their antitrust suit, but also on other purportedly unscrupulous business dealings with one another. 

As always, check out the breakdown from Paul Lesko here. TWITTER

Blake’s Breaks Accused of Scamming Collectors, Banned by Whatnot


The News:  Former NFL Linebacker, Blake Martinez, was breaking Pokemon card packs on WhatNot under his brand “Blake’s Breaks”. He was accused of swapping out higher-level packs for lower end ones. 

Whatnot Response: The breaking marketplace conducted a comprehensive investigation into BlakesBreaks’ allegations and decided to remove him from the platform. All buyers involved in the alleged scams were refunded; if you are one of said buyers submit details here. Whatnot did not mention specific illicit actions taken by Martinez, aside from those actions being enough of a reason to get his account banned. 

Bigger Picture: Streaming breaks has become a vital part of the collecting ecosystem whether you are talking Pokemon or sports cards. Bad actors on Whatnot in the past have slid under the radar, it is heartening to see the platform bolster its credibility by removing these sellers from the game. NYPOST

Collectible Happenings

Paypal launches stablecoin: PYUSD. While not necessarily a piece of collectibles news, it will certainly have downstream effects on the hobby. The programmability of money could allow for a whole new type of transaction within the space. PAYPAL

Sotheby’s posted a billboard depicting the Wilt Chamberlain jersey they are selling in a few months. The 1972 finals jersey is a significant piece and the house is certainly using it to generate some buzz for game-worn. TWITTER

Charizard crosses 1 million graded cards according to GemRate. The character is only the second subject/player to do so, behind only that of Michael Jordan. Over the last two years graded copies of the fire-type have gone from 170k to 1.001m today. TWITTER

A rare Batmobile toy sells for £117,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. The toy was manufactured by Yonezawa in the 1960s for the Japanese market; this example was still in the box and in excellent condition. The estimate was a mere £12,000–the final price exceeded that number by more than ten times. DAILYMAIL

Sotheby’s will sell Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2001b in Monterey between August 16th and 19th. The car was driven in the first three races of the 2002 season; including a win in the Australian GP. Setting the stage for Michael’s fifth world driver’s championship. SOTHEBYS

Iconic conceptual artist Brice Marden passes away at 84. He rose to fame as a young painter in 1960s New York. The artist became maybe the most celebrated name in minimalist painting. NYTIMES

Mark Herman, a dog walker who was gifted a long-lost Chuck Close painting by a dying client, faced rejection from Sotheby's before an archivist proved its authenticity and Heritage Auctions agreed to auction it on Nov. 14. NYTIMES

Vintage Topps baseball team cards from 1951-1980 were produced using rudimentary techniques, resulting in shadowy faces, blurred uniforms, and altered colors. Roy Carlson leverageS the internet to identify 98% of the individuals on these 502 team cards, uncovering intriguing details. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY

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