Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sports Card File Cache - Upper Deck/Razor

Wanted to save this from oblivion.

Upper Deck - RazorJun 3, 2009
Well, I knew all this would come out at some point because too many people have known about it. I did not want to be the one to initially report this story because it does not achieve any specific objective. I have never had definitive proof of a contractual relationship between the two parties, but I had seen enough during my tenure at Upper Deck to know there was some kind of business relationship between Upper Deck and Razor.

As to the validity of the memo that spawned all of the commotion, I have verified with two different agencies/agents that it is indeed legitimate and was sent by someone at the MLBPA.
Since the story is out, I will tell you what I know and what I do not know and you can draw your own conclusions as to what you think the real story is.

I do not know for a fact that Richard McWilliam owns Razor, nor have ever seen any documents that would suggest he enjoys even a partial equity stake in the company. I have had a strong inclination that he did, but was never able to factually validate those suspicions.

My knowledge of this story began in March 2008 when I was asked by my supervisor at UpperDeck, the Director of Product Development, to build a list of the top 10-15 prospects for the 2008 MLB Draft with autograph quantities and pricing totaling $1M. Curious as to the reasoning behind this, I asked if we (Upper Deck) were going to release an unlicensed draft baseball product. I was told that we were not going to, but Brian (Gray of Razor) was going to manufacture these products as a way to damage the Bowman product line and to preserve impact rookie cards for future Upper Deck products. At that point I started asking a lot of questions out of simple curiosity. At one point I asked why I was doing the list in. I the first place since I was already behind schedule and besides, I couldn’t care less about Razor was told by my supervisor in a sarcastic tone, “Who do you think is paying for this?” implying thatUpper Deck and/or Richard was funding the project.

During the next couple of months leading up to the draft numerous conference calls were held between myself, the Director of Product Development, Brian Gray and Jim Grant (then part-owner of Razor and owner of Peach State Wholesale) in which various players were discussed. During a short period of time after the draft, the list was expanded for the project – as well as its budget. By the time all of the players had been signed the list had grown to over 40 players and the budget had reached $2.5M.

When asked for comment both Upper Deck and Razor stated they had no comment to make about this story.

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