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This was the writing assignment for this contest....
Imagine being the lead person at Upper Deck who's job it is to design future baseball card products. In order to keep your job you've now got to impress the CEO of Upper Deck with innovative and creative ideas for their new line of baseball cards. Due to the recent court ruling you can not use MLB trademarks including team names and/or logos on your card designs. It's important that you keep in mind that Topps also has an exclusive deal with minor league baseball and USA baseball - so you can't use those either.

Here's the winning entry:

This is a design problem which although significant - can be circumvented with some lateral baseball thinking.

Since all references to Major League Baseball are prohibited - we must focus on an aspect of the game that is not tied to the corporate logos and colors of the National or American Leagues.

I propose that Upper Deck explore a series of partnerships with companies that manufacture prestige baseball gloves, bats or shoes and use these features as vehicles to feature the players.

For instance - teams have players that use Rawlings gloves exclusively. A carefully designed card, would profile the glove concerned by a MLB player that uses it on a regular basis. There would plenty of variety as Rawlings have a number of distinct professional models, as well as gloves that are designed specifically for catchers, pitchers and first basemen.

High fidelity Upper Deck printing would be perfect for this. Creative photography would accentuate the stitching and leather - and would capture the player concerned. A Rawlings cap or batting helmet would substitute for the standard ball cap.

The Rawlings people would be get terrific publicity for their products, as a generation of collectors would now be educated in the equipment game, which can only translate to a few more sales of gloves to kids.

This idea would be ideal for autographed chase cards, as pieces of a game used glove could be easily integrated into special limited edition cards.

Competitors like Wilson, Easton, Nike, Mizuno, TPX and SSK would eagerly embrace the chance to give their products more profile by associating with the Upper Deck brand.

Creative advertising could explore the integration of the card images into major advertising campaigns in print and on the web to coincide with the release of the cards.

If the venture is successful, special commemorative gloves could also be marketed using a baseball card wrapper promotion.

This same idea could be parlayed to all the bat companies.

I can envisage a SAM Bat set of cards - using only Canadian players that use the Ottawa, Ontario manufactured maple bats or a historical subset of players that used the Louisville Slugger to carve out Hall of Fame careers. This concept would also be ideal for limited edition autographed and bat memorabilia cards.

I think enough players would be interested in this venture to make it quite popular. It would also be a unique product.

In an ironic twist, it is conceivable that Upper Deck might be able to negotiate binding contracts with some of the interested bat and glove manufacturers to make it difficult to include their products on Topps cards, without paying royalties.

Irv Osterer
Ottawa, ON
Canada


Community brainstorming project for future Upper Deck Baseball Cards.

April 2010 This was the writing assignment for this contest....
Imagine being the lead person at Upper Deck who's job it is to design future baseball card products. In order to keep your job you've now got to impress the CEO of Upper Deck with innovative and creative ideas for their new line of baseball cards. Due to the recent court ruling you can not use MLB trademarks including team names and/or logos on your card designs. It's important that you keep in mind that Topps also has an exclusive deal with minor league baseball and USA baseball - so you can't use those either.

To Mr. Richard McWilliam-

At this crucial point for our organization, it is time that we come up with alternative ideas on how to continue making our terrific products. As negotiations with the MLB are at a standstill, I urge you to examine and put into action one of the ideas below for production of baseball cards as soon as possible.

1. A 3-D Series: 3-D is becoming of one of the biggest draws with today’s movies and could really catch on as a baseball card. Like the Artist Series, all players can be manipulated not to show the team name on the uniform. If a person collects a whole team, a whole scene could be made and when a person put on 3-D glasses the scene comes at them. The great effects would distract most people from the missing logos.

2. An Olde Time Set: Have all of today’s greatest players put on uniforms from the past. Of course, they could not put on exact replicas of uniforms, but just something rather plain and in that style. A second futuristic uniform set could also be made.

3. Artist Series: Have an artist sketch/paint/animation. This could be just headshots or made drawn just right where a team logo would not be necessary on the player. They could be sketched into the style of their team without writing the logo. For instance, the Reds could all have a red tone to them or the Mariners could all have a sea-like effect to them.

Mr. McWilliam, I highly recommend that you pursue one of the above options in order to maintain the integrity and high quality of our baseball cards.

Respectfully yours,

Brian Phipps



I have been a baseball card collector my entire life. And until you had this contest no one had ever asked me what I would do. To be honest, my head started spinning. Upper Deck does have their work cut out for them. But I believe I have several ideas that could assist them. The more I thought about the contest the more ideas
came to mind. I understand that Upper Deck can not use Team Logo's or Names. This in itself is a challenge as most uniforms have the team logo, name or both on them. So how can Upper Deck still produce cards without team logos or
names. The following paragraphs pull out all the stops on ideas. I hope you enjoy reading it.

The first idea is the 100 card base set. These cards are called "Upper Deck Old School".
Instead of the card being a photo of the player they are a digitized art print using ink as a medium of the player in the original photo. Think of them as similar to the current card hit, sketch cards. Because they are ink-art cards, the uniforms don't need to show any detail at all.
Another idea is called "Getting Warmed Up". This can coincide with a new marketing campaign for Upper Deck to basically tell the hobby, "We have been producing cards for a number of years and we are just getting warmed up". This set will consist of photos taken of players during warm ups and batting practice before a game. I got the idea because several
years ago I attended a game and noticed that the players do not all warm up in clothes that depict the team name or logo. I also noticed during this time that they are quite relaxed, allowing you to get a more natural photo during batting practice or fielding drills. It is a side to the players that some may not have seen unless they go to games early and catch batting
and fielding practice.
While we have seen the advent of numerous types of rare and sometimes crazy insert cards and subsets, there is one that I
believe will be a home run with several ballplayers. This subset is called "Helping Hand". It will depict ballplayers who
do charity work for their hometown or community. The cards do not have to depict the player in any uniform. They might be in street clothes, a suit, or some type of casual attire. On the back of the card will be a short explanation of the
charity work that the player does for the community as well as a phone number for those who wish to donate to the cause.
I believe all the baseball players who do this kind of work would be thrilled with this kind of information getting out there more to the public.
Another possible insert set is the cartoon card. We saw them do it with the presidential campaign. They could easily do
it with ballplayers of today. This might also relate to kids who collect, as they might enjoy pulling a cartoon card of their favorite player.
Another insert set is called "Building a Championship" - Cards of the GM's for each club. This set can exist in tandem with a building a championship contest, in which, collectors vote (online) as to whether or not they would have made the same offseason deals, contract extensions, etc. that the real GM's made.
This gets the collector interested in the hobby from the aspect of what if I could make that deal? Would I have made that deal?

pennyr1



Though Upper Deck finds itself on a clearly non-level playing field with Topps regarding baseball card product, a partial license (MLBPA) is better than no license at all and can be creatively utilized to maximum effect.

If I were in charge of product development for baseball, I would develop a three-prong approach:

1) A card brand emphasizing "studio" or "portraiture" shots of players, where uniforms or team branding has no relevance; this would be similar to the Donruss Studio brands of the early 90s, though I'd update the concept to put players into settings suited to their interests and hobbies, not just static studio shots.

2) A "throwback" card brand, with all the stylings and graphical themes of old-time baseball and old-time card sets, depicting players in REALLY vintage uniforms and settings, where logos and team names are inconsequential to the feel and look of old-fashioned hard ball.

3) A "profile" brand heavy on player's personal interests, insights and quirks and laced with memorabilia pertaining to all sorts of non-baseball related items (but significant to the ascribed player), as well as hand-written notes, thoughts and inscriptions from the ascribed player.

It would also be important to step up consumer involvement in contests and special redemptions randomly inserted into packs, thereby increasing the demand for said product based on the prospect of valuable returns. Part of this could be a strong emphasis on non-baseball Americana, further exploiting the concept established in "Piece of History," and so successfully realized by both Donruss/Playoff (Donruss Americana) and Topps (American Heritage) in recent years. Inclusion of non-baseball "Americana" artifacts and autographs should be extensive and very wide-ranging, offering a true and exciting "Cracker Jack" prize to every buyer.
jefemaster

So we have to figure out how to compete in a market with one hand tied behind our back.could this possibly be anything like what Jim Abbott would have felt when he set out to follow his dreams? Well if it is, then Upper Deck can prove it belongs in the big leagues too. Although Topps seems to literally have the baseball card market all but cornered, they forgot just a few things. These modern day heroes of America's favorite past-time didn't just fall off the major league baseball turnip truck, no, they came from somewhere. Someone out there taught them, encouraged them, gave them resources to learn, play, practice, and get really, really good. Where are these places? Who were these people? Let's go out into America and across the globe to find out where these guys came from.

We'll take a photographer back to their origins, their high school, college, native country.wherever they came from and we'll shoot them like they used to be. We can get shots of them practicing with old coaches, playing with old team-mates, wearing old uniforms, or no uniforms at all; the more realistic the better. We can look for candid moments on and off the field, maybe with old teammates that weren't so lucky to make the Big Leagues but gave these guys the concept of teamwork, friendship, network, and community. Maybe there are brothers, sisters, dads, and moms that made these guys who they are, we can look for the perfect opportunities to make the next generation baseball card that is more than just about baseball.we can tell a story.hundreds of different stories to baseball lovers all over the world. We'll title the cards with the name of the city they play in; after all, Topps doesn't have the rights to those do they? Each city on each card will have its own special design. Actual team colors can be integrated into the design of each team's card. The players name will be in bold headlining each card in a variety of different colors that compliment the overall look of each team. We are going to broaden the horizons of this market and take it somewhere it has never been before. The variety will be tremendous; there won't be any one way to shoot these cards. We can go to the cages with some guys, while we visit some of America's best college institutions, we'll go to Japan, the Caribbean, Central America, and every ball park in between if we choose to. Maybe there are baseball rich pockets, like the Dominican Republic, where we can highlight multiple players from the same area; these could be our insert cards or a special production. We'll look at regional differences and similarities; maybe give the collector some fun facts on the back of the cards about all the unique places MLB players come from.

The bottom line gentlemen, is that we have to be able and willing to do something different, not only for the sake of our company, but for our customers who love Major League Baseball. We just might be able to end up with one of our industry's most sought after line of baseball cards.
bds55678



This one is almost simple. If Upper Deck can't use players in their uniforms, or at least uniforms that don't reveal any MLB logos, the compay should set up and exlusive deal for portraits.


Being a sports photogrpaher, there is this saying that while anyone can't shoot an action photo, it's the portraits that solidify one's status as a photographer.


Similar to the 1993 Upper Deck inserts "The Iooss Collection," which featured portraits of baseball's stars rather than the typical action photo, Upper Deck can collaborate with several high-profile photographers (they do not have to specialize in sports) and create images that tell more about the athlete than just a swing of the bat, a wind-up or a diving catch.


These photos could revolve around a popular hobby or recreational activity the athlete enjoys and could have some facts about the particular athlete on the back of the cards.


An example would be Albert Pujols photographed with maybe some individuals with Down Syndrome, something he dedicates his time and charities too.


This would take away the "boring portraits" the Donruss Leaf Studio gave us in the early 90s.

dvr51679

Upper Deck is in a tough position. They have been backed into a corner with the hopes that they will just give up. What the people at Topps don't realize is that the potential for a revolution has never been higher.


Baseball cards have always served two purposes in my time of collecting, visual and economical entertainment. The cards have been a source of baseball knowledge, providing entertainment through reading and pictures. I always look forward to seeing the latest card designs, as well as reviewing statistics, and seeing players in their new team uniforms. On the other hand, trying to obtain the most valuable rookies autos or sets is the most appealing factor to breaking open new packs. Upper Decks dilemma is to provide that same visual appeal and economical entertainment without using team names and logos.


Here comes "Upper Deck Personal". What I picture is a card of a current or past player dressed up in either casual clothes or uniforms of other than mlb leagues (Olympics, WBC or winter league teams). The set could also include non-baseball people as well. The front of the card would show in gold letters the total monetary earnings of that player or person for their career. This would keep the appeal of statistics. Derek Jeter would be pictured in pajamas with a bat, his name on top, and the amount of all his contractual earnings at the bottom. The back of the card would be an story from the personal life of that player, maybe catalogue their endorsements, and possibly include quotes from that player or a family member. This would make the reading much more interesting because it would not be limited to baseball. They could also put personal opinions on the card about Topp's exclusive contract.


Upper Deck Personal would be an elegant set with personally used items from a players personal life. Imagine opening a pack of cards and finding Prince Fielders baby tooth on a card. This would keep the value that UD needs, as well as revolutionize the entertainment of baseball cards.


David Lepre

OK, we're going in a new direction! Can't use our players in MLB uniforms, no problem!! We will manufacture a set depicting players in other uniforms. This will be "If I Did Not Make The Bigs..." Cards will feature our players in other career uniforms that they might be in if they were not going to be in the Majors. This will give fans a more involved and personal look into their favorite players thoughts. Ken Griffey in a Fireman's outfit, Albert Pujols dressed as St. Louis' finest, Evan Longoria ready to teach his Grade 10 Math class, Dr. Ryan Howard checking out a patient, David Wright awaiting the Start of a Stock Car Race, and Prince Fielder rehearsing his lines for his hit Soap Opera!!! Fans will love this newlook which has never been done. We're original and we're better than ever!



I think this would actually be a cool concept for a trading card set, I would be buying! Thanks for taking the time to read this


Graphgrabber

We can either attempt to hide the fact we no longer can associate the players with their major league baseball affiliations in either name or logo, or we can turn that into an advantage. What growing baseball-related activity does not link players to their teams ... the answer is fantasy baseball. We should be able to grow our revenue stream by attracting a fantasy baseball crowd while maintaining enough of the larger collector community through innovative card design and increased use of short printing and targeted insert cards.
Here is how we pull this off:
1) Instead of showing team information and position as basic front-of-card information ... show position and numeric 2010 position ranking based on Wins Above Replacement Player or some other method
2) Instead of picturing players in MLB uniforms, create 8-12 different fantasy teams and creatively photoshop these fantasy team uniforms and logos on players ... in effect creating 8-12 parallel releases (number to be determined later) ... each card needs to have some sort of code [for game use below]
3) Short print all star cards or print asymmetric numbers of the star cards by fantasy team [so for example a Pujols blue team parallel is extremely rare and valuable to either a collector or a fantasy game player]
4) Create additional "greatest ever" cards that show for example a 1927 Babe Ruth on the blue team with front showing position and numerical ranking of his 1927 against all years for a RF ever or a 1999 Barry Bonds, 1956 Mantle, 1954 Mays, etc...
5) For the back of the card information, add statistics different from typical cards such as UZR, WARP, etc...
6) Set up an on-line fantasy league site where 8-12 players compete for autographed game-used bat cards from stars and other free stuff ... players are assigned one of the 8-12 fantasy teams and can only unlock/use the players when they have that player/fantasy team card ... these std card players get fantasy points based on their 2011 performance ... the "greatest ever" players get fantasy points based on their week by week performance in the year of the card (e.g. the 1927 Ruth season)
This solution will not attract all current card consumers, but it should attract hard-core fantasy players either because of the information on the cards or to play the associated on-line game. The on-line game may increase trading activity and therefore value of short print cards ... and it will drive another potential revenue source related to advertising associated with the on-line game site.

Scott Crowder

The Upper Deck designers do indeed have their work cut out for them. A quick boo to Topps, their seeming monopoly will only hurt the hobby.
Here are the ideas I would pitch to my bosses at Upper Deck.
First, Without being able to use logos, team names, team uniforms, etc I would pitch a card with a more intimate angle of getting to know the players. I would use any little league, high school, or non-MLB related pictures of the players in a baseball uniform with just their name on the front. On the back could still be their yearly/career stats or fill up the back of the card with fun facts about the player. Their hobbies, craziest MLB moment, favorite music/movies, etc.
Secondly, A head shot of the player with an aerial shot of their home ballpark and a map of that city (similar to the Bowman International parallel) superimposed in the background.
The key for Upper Deck will be "flashy" cards. Use of vibrant colors, foils, refractors, die cuts, make it POP! What about an entire set of die cut cards in the shape of a glove with the players head shot and name on the front with stats or fun facts on the back; or the same but on a bat or home plate die cut. Upper Deck has to think outside the box and embrace the out of the ordinary card. A huge challenge, but maybe a blessing in disguise to take the trading card in a new and exciting direction.

RICHIE Cards

We cannot use any trademarks, team names, or logos for our baseball cards. As designer, I believe that we need a few creative ideas in order to maintain equal popularity with Topps. What I propose is to have a card product that does not need trademarks, team names, or even logos. This card product will be a throwback card with players in the earliest uniforms when there were no logos. They would be black and white cards, with inserted glossy colored cards numbered out of one-thousand. We would also have autographed and memorabilia cards with this set so people would be interested in buying it. My second thought for the new card product is to have the player photograph be of the player's head and so eliminating the possibility of trademarks, team names, and logos. Next to the player's face will be a flag of the team colors. One more little problem we have is the stat sheet on the reverse of the card. We cannot use the team name, but this can be fixed easily by putting the city/state name there instead. I know that these ideas will keep us in business with baseball cards.

Sincerely,

Josh Romportl

This might be the easiest contest you've ever had since I have come up with so many ideas for card and set design I could keep UD alone busy for years. The easiest thing would be to do a set alone on the lines of Masterpieces minus the logos, etc. Also even easier than that would be a set of portraits similar to the old Pro Set Portraits which of course could have bat and jersey pieces added as well. All of these can used without logos and names while they can still use the players name and the city whether AL or NL behind it such as "Derek Jeter - New York, AL". Very simple stuff here. I think I hear Upper Deck calling me for a job right now! I have an even better idea if they really want to be innovative! Thanks
thepick88

Here is an idea that Upper Deck can use. Baseball was created in the backyard so why doesn't Upper Deck come up with the same thing. Uniforms weren't worn, kid wore jeans, cutoffs, ratty old tee shirts and torn tennis shoes. They didn't need to wear no fancy uniforms and custom made shoes to play America's game, so why doesn't Upper Deck use that. Wouldn't be a little unique to see Jeter in street clothes playing shortstop? Mauer behind the plate with torn jeans and a ratty ole catchers mit. Johan Santana throwing a worn out baseball and not a new one every 4 pitches. As for not being able to use any team logo use the stadium names, or does MLB have rights on those too?
nelski2108

Wow, great topic.tough one too. First of all, I would definitely take a look at what ITG has done without a license in the hockey world. Unfortunately, with Topps having an exclusive deal with minor league baseball and USA baseball, the market has been cornered quite well. ITG focuses on less products but I find they have a much more streamlined process with a greater focus on memorabilia quality. Upper Deck will need to cut down on the amount of products it releases due to the restrictions. What they could do, is have a high end product like what ITG Memorabilia does with slabbed cards and high quality patches, jerseys, bats.even leather from cleats and buttons from jerseys. Here is where you could incorporate a lot of retired stars in this set too. You could have larger pieces of memorabilia and autographs so that all you need is a head shot of these players that don't show any MLB or minor league logos. In some cases, you could even have pieces of memorabilia from stadiums (bases, seats, etc.). This would also be an opportunity to appeal to the international baseball fans. I would feature another set that includes baseball stars from around the world.you would still need to include players from USA baseball obviously for sales but unfortunately that might need to be limited to head shots only. You could also include inserts of players with their heroes.this doesn't have to be limited to baseball either. Maybe, a player is a huge fan of a certain Hollywood star, musician or other sports figure. Have dual autos or dual memorabilia from both player and non-baseball figure. It could go the other way to with non-baseball figures and their baseball heroes. I would also include contests with pack sales.instead of plain decoys, just follow the ITG process and assign 1 point (or more) to each decoy and you can save them up to submit them for a custom card or something along those lines. I feel this is a great opportunity for Upper Deck.with greater focus on quality memorabilia cards and imagination, I feel they could attract new fans to collecting baseball cards domestically & internationally.

- Ryan

Is there a "Grandfather" ruling on the current contract that Topps has? Anything made before the existing contract? If there is can you reuse past card designs ? Upper Deck has some pretty nice designs in past years. Can you take the faces of current ball
players and put them on other people's bodies at the current
players position? So you could take Robinson Cano's head and put it on Willie Randolf's body being there both Yankee second basemen? You could use action shots of the past players for each position with the current players head. Sounds far fetched
but that why I don't work at Upper Deck.
onedag27

I was getting a little tired of seeing these guys always on the field. Let's get them in their swiming suits on the beach.How about in the gym with bar bells-weights-med ball. Maybe hitting the puck on the ice or hooping the Basketball. A little net action is always good.This may draw the little lady to start buying baseball cards. THAT WOULD BE A VERY BIG HELP TO ME. ( Not sure if I would like my wife storing D.Jeter,in his swim suit card in her wallet.... LOL)
John

In the events leading up to the exclusion of Upper Deck in MLB licensed products, it leaves the manufacturer in a bit of a quandry. The baseball market is highly lucrative for any company who deals in trading cards, memorabilia or other sports related items. It is essential that the braintrust at Upper Deck come up with a potent link to the baseball market without infringing on MLB licensing. To this end I give you 2010 Upper Deck Candid.
This set encompasses the outside lives of all your favorite baseball stars. Included in this set are players from venues not normally seen such as the Asian leagues and Caribbean/South American leagues. Memorabilia inserts are to include items from players pastimes. Rare chase memorabilia will include autographed items from events that the players attend such as awards ceremonies (Oscars), charity events (24 Hr Famine) and candid events such as Xmas in the players hometown.
In other products, scenarios could be presented where the players who had opportunity to play other professional sports might be examined. There have been a wide number of players who have either been successful in other sports early in their professional careers or have gone onto other endeavors after baseball. Football, hockey, basketball, boxing and MMA are all examples of sports outside baseball that have been successfully bridged by professional baseball players. Political aspirations might also be an arena to view.
Until MLB allows the exclusivity licensing to relax, Upper Deck must strive to find ways to keep the fans of major league baseball players cards entertained and perhaps enlighted to these larger than life people. These ideas will give collectors a fresh perspective on the stars of professional baseball. It's going to take collecting to another place. It's an adventure that Upper Deck relishes.


Matt Parker

I propose that you make cards with the players college uniforms on and call it teen stars.You could make cards of just about any players whether they are superstars or just average players.Some inserts could be jersey cards or bat cards or autographs with one or more players shown on each card.The cards would also list some of their favorite moments in college and what some of their college jobs were like and what they did to make some extra money to make it through college.You also could include some cards of the players when they were in high school and compare them to what they look like now and what they looked like then to see if there is any difference and see if they look any different.Also you could include a subset of pitchers and call it High School Aces and offer limited number or inserts.You could also throw in autograph or jersey or bat inserts from high school and even put in some older players whom are no longer young enough to play major league ball but were major league superstars and former high school prospects.

Fairon Spears

Having Topps only in the baseball card industry sucks! We at Upper Deck have a responsibility to provide a competitive alternative to Topps in light of our outstanding history. We were the company to issue the card of the decade in the Griffey, Jr. RC and we were the company to introduce the first innovative photo and design product.
This is what we should do. First, the obvious is to produce a product which shows only the player with no MLB identification. Remember the Nolan Ryan Stadium Club tuxedo photo? We could produce cards this way for an interim period of time. However, we could only do this for so long because our customer would tire of the design.
Second, during the interim, we should hit Topps and MLB where it hurts; their anti-trust exemption. Maybe we could sign an indivdual contract with a player(s) in the MLB to produce an exclusive card set. Out of hundreds of players in MLB, there should be one player who would be outraged at the monopoly of Major League Baseball. Andy Messersmith and Curt Flood come to mind in history who have had the courage to challenge MLB's anti-trust exemption.
Thirdly, we could lobby Congress who has granted the exemption and stir up political trouble for Topps. Interests who hate the BCS (Bowl Champion Series) are doing this now in Congress on the basis of anti-trust arguments. Do you think that Michael Eizner who owns Topps is beloved in Congress by all of the members? There must be one member of Congress who dislikes monopolies and at least would be willing to return to duopoly for competition.
Fourth, sue, sue, sue. Eventhough we settled this last court case, our lawyers could find some "cause of action" against Topps and therefore, against the public interest, as well as ours.
Finally, I am convinced that the baseball card entusiast and collector would be willing to take up our cause with petitions, press interviews and letter writing campaigns to add their voice against a lack of competition, innovation, and opportunity that comes from a free market place. Let's put the pressure on Topps and this time let them settle.
There, here are my ideas for action. Now let's go get 'em!!!!!
wayne h.

If I were upper deck and looking for a new way to portray baseball players without using team names and logos, I'd start off by looking back the old Studio cards from the early 90s. These cards featured players in regular clothes pictured in a studio setting. Of course, it's probably impossible to get all of the players to participate, so it might be worth limiting it to a smaller set. Perhaps featuring only the high end players and up and comers. Just leave out the guys you've never heard of. Maybe include some additional bat/jersey cards (without mentioning the team name) and some additional autograph cards.

Brad W - Greenville, NC


This will be the very first set in history with player pictures showing absolutely no player wearing a hat or uniform. The Donruss company Studio portraits sets from past years were innovative and creative and were very classy pictures but always showed the players in their uniforms and some even had hats on in those sets. This set will break new ground in that it will be studio picture quality photography with no uniforms and no hats. The players will be allowed to show their personalities in choosing their own wardrobes to wear for the photo shoots. The portrait settings will also be chosen by the players to highlight each one's individuality and personality. This will be a set of the major stars only and will be limited to about 150 cards.


One insert set will be players in natural settings doing things they love. This subset will include scenes of players bowling, camping, hiking, hang-gliding, traveling, etc. All insert sets will consist of about 10-25 cards each. Another insert set will be players' favorite travel destinations. It will depict players in their travel garb in locales that they choose like Tahiti, Hawaii or on safari in Africa. One other insert set will be family portraits. This one will be quite limited in size as many star players won't want to have their family included in a card set for fear of adverse publicity or stalkers, etc. But there will be plenty of players who would love to show off their beautiful family in a card set.


The set will be depicted in advance advertising as the "set the public has been waiting 50 years" for. No card company has ever had the creativity and courage to show players as normal, everyday people like this set does. One promotional aspect will be that fans will now be able to relate to their favorite players on a closer, more personal level seeing them as people just like themselves.


Designs will come from the very best, most creative and stylish set designers at Upper Deck Company. The card collecting industry has never seen anything like the card designs we will unfold in this set. It will be a truly ground-breaking, innovative and standard-setting set for the industry for years to come!


sinocc

Why not use familiar landmarks from the city in which the player plays? In the case of a city with a landmark that is not familiar, use something of local importance and educate the card collecting public about the home city? Derek Jeter with The Statue of Liberty in the background, or Ryan Howard next to the Liberty bell? Or, instead of promoting the city, it could also be used to promote the player's namesake charity, a win-win for Upper Deck and the charity. Have the player photo taken in front of signage denoting a pet project or at an award ceremony. Or even cross-market the Upper Deck card series'. Have MLB players pictures taken with NHL, NFL, or NBA players from the same city. Have the player from the NHL, NFL, or NBA city in uniform, and the player from MLB wearing fan wear for that particular team. Or do what Pro Line did with the NFL cards in the early 90's and make it a personal piece about the player himself, with hobbies, interests, or family.
erideout

I've actually got a few ideas for you. First, I think the best idea would be to show the players in a sandlot, pick-up game style setting. I think it would put the idea that the players are still having fun like the kids that idolize them. If allowed they could still use bats, baseballs, and gloves; I don't think MLB has a copyright on those things.


An even better variation on the first idea would be to have them playing stickball, or wiffleball in a neighborhood street setting. (I like this one best)


Another good one would be showing the players engaged in their favorite hobby, like playing golf, fixing classic cars, or maybe even collecting sports cards (they'd have to fuzz out any MLB copyrighted images on the cards though).


I think the main idea the card company needs to remember is that these cards (and all sports cards) should be geared towards the kids. I know alot of us adults are crazy about them, but like me most of the adults use cards as a tool to bond with our kids and get them interested in the sport. Which brings up my last idea.


Let the setting be of the players signing autographs or playing games with a group of kids. I think this idea would do alot for the images of the players, the card company, and the sport itself, unfortunately baseball needs a little image adjustment after all the BS scandals that have been going on for the last few years.
David Rush

i would do cards like the old proline cards. cards featuring player in regular clothes, pictures of their wives, kids pets or participating in their favorite hobby, bowling , fishing, hunting, disco, bingo. the text can contain their favorite qoutes, their role models and comparable people in the past. or list the one person ever theyd like to have dinner with
biglittledogs

Looking back at some of my older cards (reference the '60's) photos of the players were generally close-ups taken in uniform. Most of today's photos are action shots; in many of them you don't even see the players faces. I propose that Upper Deck go back to close-up portraits showing players in street clothes. This would allow kids as well as adult fans to recognize players. Cards could still indicate the team city, national or American league (if this is not copy righted) and the player's number and playing position. Background colors could be in the colors that represent their team.
francis36

First off i want to say how stupid i think it is, that MLB is not letting UD use "their" logos and trademarks. But as to not ramble on about that, let's get into how UD can possibly get around that and still have a product that people want to buy. So lets think what it is that customers/collectors want when they purchase a pack of baseball cards. Most to all "look" for Game-used, autos and short-prints. The auto's and short prints UD need not worry as MLB doesn't own the right to short-print and i don't assume own the players right to sign a card. But what to do about Game-used and base cards. Well as for base cards since you can't use team names or players in MLB uniforms, what if you instead made the picture on front (of the person/player) doing something else. For example say you have a reprint or base card of Babe Ruth. You could show him in black and white color smoking a cigar in an interview with whomever or him for a more kid friendly idea taking a picture with children. Or show persons/players at a charity event. Show them doing something that you do not need MLB uniforms or logos. As for game-used people like them because it's a piece of that player. Even if it's just a little piece of the uniform or a piece of the bat, the consumer feels like they own a piece of history and that person. The only thing i can think of that you could do in replace of that is more DNA Relic type cards. The game-used is going to be the toughest thing to replace or get around. Maybe you could also do a piece of the players first contract signed something that is meaningful to the consumer. Give the consumer a feeling of owning a piece of history and that player. Thanks for taking the time to read this.


-Sean

I think it would be a great idea for different cards to be in each pack. There could be stadium cards featuring present day and old baseball stadiums the would be #ed to the amount of people the stadium can hold. I also think another great card would be the historical event cards like the ones in upper deck a piece of history. One more set of base cards they could have is commissioner cards of all baseballs commissioners.


As for the inserts I would think it would be a great idea for every thing to be in redemptions so you could get better stuff.When I mean better stuff I am talking about signed bats, balls, jerseys, and even game used equipment. I also think a great redemption would be a bunch of old upper deck cards, and tickets to baseball games. The grand prize would be to meet a baseball player that is picked by upper deck and spend a day with them. I think these redemptions should fall around 2 a box.


thank you,
mitchell brandhagen

Upper Deck has come to a fork in the road. They have a few options and opportunities to explore. They can pay to have the mlb license and continue to produce the same products, doesn't look like that is what they are going to do. Another option is to revamp the way they do business, they have long been known to flood the market with material which makes it nice in this economy because we can afford to buy material due to the price being driven down, but makes our resale options very limited. If they want to stay in the baseball arena they are going to have to get very creative in how they get their pictures of players and what they use for material. We may see a card come out of Derek Jeter leaving a game in plain clothes and a piece of his jeans on the card. Or they can liquided their baseball stock and stay in the market like Donruss has in the celebrity field. They may also want to look at merging with another company that does have a license with the MLB. That could make for an interesting combination for many of us. All in all I hope that this makes the cards we have worth more and gives the other card makers some inspiration to give the collectors something we haven't seen before.
Stephanie Wilson

Back in the late 80's or early 90's Pro Line came out with a series of cards that showed players in personal clothing. I think this would once again be an option for future cards. However, for future issues there could be a reference to the players MLB team in the background without using Logos. One such option would be a photo of the stadium in which they play. Another option would be an image of a real mascot. For example, someone playing for the Cardinals would be standing amongst a flock of Cardinals, Angels would be flying with angels, Yankees in Civil War uniforms. For some of the teams you would have to get very creative due to the mascot, however, all could be done in this manner. Another option would be to take pictures of the city skyline in the backgound. I think that these could be very good options if no Logos can be used.
toddbischoff

I would like to see UD put out a Heros collection. The collection would be of Baseball players in regular cloths meeting millitary personell of past and present wars. The millitary person could be from the home town the player plays from. UD could issue a dual jersey card with the players uniform and a uniform from the millitary personell used in the war. The packs should be priced to allow a portion to go to support Disabled Veterans.
Steve Kent

If I had to come up with a new design for my sports card company and i could not use any MLB, USA, or minor league images.
I would maybe go with a high school yearbook type themed card. On the front of the card I would have a small picture of the player taken from his high school yearbook if possible or college if thats not available and if college is not available then i would just take a minor league picture of his head with the team logo airbrushed off. The background would be the color of his current major league team. Then i would have the players name under his picture, then the position he plays. And then the name of the city that he plays for. I would try and keep the picture of him as small as possible to take away the emphasis of not being able to use any major league baseball images. On the back of the card I would list his high school with the position he played along with college statistics if he played in college and then his current statistics.
justinb1976

I think that baseball cards are americas greatest creation and without baseball cards would be tough to live in so I have a solution for Upper Deck. Take pictures of the players with a bat in their hands or a glove depending on what position they are but no team logos at all in the back ground or on what they are wearing. The players don't have to be in their major league stadium they just can be pictured in any stadium. For the minor league teams do the exact same thing and for the world teams you should be able to picture their jersey's and the countries logo because thats not a Major League Baseball team. For the players stats just put the city of the team that the players played on because thats not mentioning any team names just the city in which the team is located.
andym1

True, we cannot use team logos or trademarks, however we CAN use a player's statistics. Our aim over the past several months has been to grow our presence on social networking sites. Lets take this one step further and make cards interactive. We will print the first BLANK baseball card with only the player's stats (but NOT the player's name) listed on the back and a serial number. The purchaser of the pack will take the card, analyze the stats and then enter the serial number and the name of the player they think the stats belong to. As the collector identifies more and more players correctly, they will generate points good for redemption for things like old cards, merchandise, credit toward boxes of other sports cards and the like. There will also be tracking on the website of the collector who has gotten the most correct answers. The top 5 highest point getters will be invited to meet with an Upper Deck affiliated athlete (similar to the Yankee Stadium Legacy collection) It will get kids back to really analyzing the stats on the cards, and appeal to long time collectors as well given the chance to earn older cards and merchandise. Plus it will generate a ton of press given that nothing like this has been done before (A baseball card with no picture?)
mjz119

My idea would be to just keep it simple.
I would do a line of "America's Pastime Card's" featuring all the great stars of "Baseball" that we all love and which draws us to the game.
I would of course do #'d cards which would be autographed and feature player glove swatch cards and baseball swatches. All autographed cards would feature hard signed auto's, no foil.
Now the player photos would be tricky. We can dress them up in sweet UD uniforms for the old retro baseball poses. I'd do booklet style cards also because we all love those babys. Duel Auto cards are a must in any line. Lets focus on doing less common stuff that consumers can get anywhere and do a specail treet for the fan that loves the game not the business. Cards shouldn't be flashy with team logos. Its about the game and the player that makes the game great.
dmullen1974

If I were in charge of designing future baseball cards and products without using MLB logos, I would sure have to get creative. A job this big, would require giving the name, baseball card, a whole new meaning. Not being able to use MLB logos, would give me an opportunity to share some of my new ideas for how we could design the new cards. Instead of showing a player in his current Major League uniform, my cards would display the player as a child, playing Little League baseball. It would show the player posing in his uniform, or being in action during a game. This would allow the fans to see how the player's Major League career came to be, and where he got his start in baseball. Fans would also find it fascinating to see their favorite player when they were a child. On the back of the cards, I would choose to teach the fans a little more about their favorite players and role models. The cards would feature unique information about each unique player. This information would include things that the average fan would find interesting to know about the players, like hobbies, favorite food, and family life. By using my new and innovative ideas, I would hope to create a line of successful and creative Upper Deck cards and products.
philliesgirl

For the 2011 Upper Deck baseball cards, I would start of by creating a new website for Upper Deck specifically for a new fantasy baseball league. This wouldn't be a regular fantasy baseball league because there would be 30 teams (with the names and logos being created by Upper Deck) instead of your normal 8-12 team leagues. Also the teams would require at least a 25 man roster (like the regular MLB teams). Each team would be given a set draft position for a mock draft. The rosters would be set based on about 100-150 mock drafts done by the Upper Deck consumers. This would generate interest and hype leading up to the new line of baseball cards. At the end of all the drafts, the average draft position of all the players would be calculated and set to their corresponding teams. This is where the cards come into play. All the baseball cards would show the players on the teams they were set to in the fantasy baseball league. The cards can show the team names and logos of the fantasy teams and the players can be shown wearing either a basic white, grey, or any other color jersey. Photoshop is going to have to be used to erase the team names and logos of the MLB teams from the jerseys the players are actually wearing of course.
The key here is to actually allow the consumers to join a fantasy league based on the teams that were set by the mock drafts. No trades would be allowed because then cards would have to change which would be weird for die hard fantasy baseball players but I believe customers would be able to easily adjust because it would make buying and trading the cards more fun. I say more fun because if a consumer decides to join a league and own a team he is going to want to buy and trade for the cards of the players he/she has on his/her team.
This is something that can be repeated year after year which would allow different inserts into the base sets. For instance, inserts like "Fantasy All-Stars" and "Fantasy MVPs" and so on. You can also still include your chromes and refractors. Manufactured patches would still be able to be included as well as autos and game used as long as the MLB team names and logos aren't shown. The card backs wouldn't need to show stats either. Many other base cards have been produced showing no stats but instead little tid-bits about the player. Possibly the second year you run the cards this way you can show fantasy stats for the player for the previous year.
With the constantly growing popularity of fantasy sports I believe this would be a great new approach to the world of baseball cards. This would be a new way to play and a new way to collect. It used to work in video games that didn't have all the licenses of the MLB (i.e. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball), and I'm sure it would work for the wide world of baseball card collecting.

Jesse Lent

My idea for a future Upper Deck baseball card would be portraits of Major League players wearing suits. Each player will assemble the suit they are pictured in as well as choosing a pose, and if they want to a location where they would like the photograph to be taken otherwise the photo will be taken in a studio. Players will also have the option to be pictured will baseball equipment such as bats, baseballs, mitts, batting gloves, helmets, and catcher's masks. My favorite title for this set of cards would be "Major League Players Suit Up!" but another possible title could be "The Formal Wear Collection". There could be some cards that include pieces of a player's suit and autographs. There would also be inserts and variations were a player would be pictured doing something that they like, such as a hobby or activity which would allow collectors to learn something about a player that they did not know already.
preston.hennes

Did you know that prior to the 1952 Topps set there were no logo's on baseball cards, and It was the father of the modern-day baseball card Sy Berger who came up with the idea. Who would have thought that almost sixty years later this would have an impact on the way we look at baseball cards today. Berger would work for Topps for 50 years (1947-97) and serve as a consultant for another five, becoming a well-known figure on the baseball scene, and the face of Topps to major league baseball players, whom he signed up annually and paid in merchandise, like refrigerators and carpeting.


Around 1960, during a spring cleaning effort at the Topps headquarters, Sy hired a garbage boat, loaded 300 to 500 cases of 1952 high-series cards, and rode with them as a tugboat pulled them off the New Jersey shore. The cards were then dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. The cards included Mickey Mantle's first Topps card, the most valuable card of the modern era. No one at the time, of course, knew the collector's value the cards would one day meet. Currently, a pack of 1952 Topps baseball cards is worth at least $5,000. At a time when baseball cards could be found in tire spokes one can only wonder what Sy Bergers true intentions were that spring day. Did he possibly foresee a future where cards could be, bought and sold for profit?


No one will ever know.


To say that the current state of the hobby is up in arms would be complete hogwash, because those familiar with It's history know card wars have raged since its inception, and will continue until it demise. In the early 1950's Topps waged war with another popular card manufacturer of I'ts time Bowman. Topps proved a very diligent, and relentless competitor . They were the first card company to develop a scouting system for top prospects, and in doing so were able to sign future Hall of Famers to exclusive deals.


Jim Bouton the author of the controversal book Ball Four was quoted saying the following " We would all line up like we were getting our flu shots." We signed away our rights for the token $5, known then as "steak money." Bowman sued Topps ( sound familiar) , claiming the newcomer was infringing on its contracts with players. During the litigation, Topps steered clear of several players in question that's why there is no Topps card of Mantle for 1954 and '55. Topps eventually bowled over Bowman, buying out its opponent in 1956 for a relative pittance. The company racked up so many exclusive player contracts that other gum makers couldn't get into this newly lucrative business. It's no surprise that companies like Upper Deck and It's affiliate Razor have both used this cutthroat tactic to use players like chess pieces for both profit, and monopoly. After all who needs a logo when you have the almighty dollar sign.


If you think Upper Decks recent legal troubles with Konami is something new you are definitely misinformed. Upper Deck has a long history of shady dealings associated with their corporation. Its ingenious co-founder, Paul Sumner, launched the company in the late 1980s with honorable intentions-to prevent the counterfeiting of cards and to cut out shady dealers. But it wasn't long before Upper Deck employees were referring to their pricey cards as "cardboard gold." The company played a large role in making the hobby more expensive, and in doing so stripped it from the hands of the less fortunate, and most important of all the kids.


A good example of Upper Decks biased towards the wealthy is the exclusive Diamond Club. Diamond Club members consist of the top individual purchasers and collectors of Upper Deck and Fleer brands throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. Diamond Club members receive special promotional items, receive invitations to special events and are invited to an annual summit where they can share ideas with members of Upper Deck while participating in a special reception with one of the company's spokesmen. Fewer than 125 members are chosen to be a part of the program each year. It is a perfect example of how rich collectors are rewarded, and the less fortunate are left out in the cold.


History has shown us that monopolies don't last, and the best way to achieve success is through competition.


I wonder what Sy Berger thinks of all this?
jghazaleh

Upper Deck versus Topps, with all the rules and regulations/stipulations AGAINST Upper Deck, should only make things MORE interesting to the Die-Hard fan and collector.
Upper Deck has always been known for thier innovative photography. The in-game or on-site photographers need to get tight action shots of player sliding,diving,swing or pitching follow-throughs that do not show "full" player names or team names.
There could/should be player cards with studio "head-shots". Use nick-names for teams (Motor City Kitties...'Dem Bums...Chi-Sox).
There could be a series of cards for "Life Outside The Park", players at home, enjoying their hobbies or intrests or wearing just the team colors.
If there is a will...there is a way !!!
Good Luck Upper Deck


Rick Miller Tulare,CA

"The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break (John Madden)." This quote from John Madden represents the new world of card collecting and the politics that are involved. Whatever happened to the good old days when people collected items of great importance to them. Now, everything is all about "rights" from various players, companies, major league sports,...etc. All of these competitors of the new age of card collecting have taken the true meaning out of card collecting. These various elements create numerous rules and laws to the companys such as Upper Deck, Topps, and Panini. Rules and guidelines are very important to protecting fraud and false representation but there is a fine line between these rules and reality. How is it fair to take away Upper Decks whole contract and cause them to recreate their whole process and styles of cards they produce. With this said, the market for card collecting will be dominated by the other major card collecting companies and might even put Upper Deck out of business in the long run. Change is always around the corner in order for companies to keep customers happy. This punishment of Upper Deck is a sad story that should create some new aspects of card collecting, but let's just hope it for the better!


-Joseph Quaka

Upper Decks Possible solutions to their MLB problem


If logos and team names are out, can team colors still be used? Cards that might focus on color, not uniforms and logos might distract from the fact that there is no MLB connection. You would want the players to be the main draw instead of the team. Possibly, drawings or sketches of just the players faces or them just standing with a white t-shirt or an upper deck shirt holding a bat or in a stance. Involving any charities or causes that the players might support could also be helpful and interesting. Replacing all the Logos on the jerseys with the upper deck logo is another idea. Changing all the cards to black and white and have the players wear suits or use pictures of them from their daily lives, this might also allow fans to see their favorite players in a new light. Lastly, using the players name on the back of a jersey or their number with their name and stats might work also. For specialty cards having the players sign Upper deck logo's and patches would be great.
Thanks


Joe Orlando

The prestigeous new Upperdeck set will consist of,a high GQ type format.Snapshots of the players either getting out of their vehicles or out on the town alla papparatzi pics.We will be going hog wild with our inserts.SUPERSTAR HERITAGE researching the major superstars famous relatives of the past.Hobby favorites,we will catch our superstars at their leasure enjoying what they love most.Mirror image,which will compare top stars of the baseball world with the one person of the past that they most admire and respect.This is my proposal for the continuation of the Upperdeck line.
Thanks,Anthony Lindsay

Long before Upper Deck became a card company, the term "upper deck" referred to premium seating at a sporting event. The premium seating cost more, but the rewards were worth the cost. Upper deck seating was exclusive and valued. So, for 2010 Upper Deck (the card company) will be unveiling an exclusive, premium, sought after trading card featuring baseball stars of the modern era.
2010 UD will be printed on the same fine card stock customers have come to expect from Upper Deck. The photos will demonstrate the same level of technical excellence buyers are used to seeing. The catch will be that the cards feature players out of uniform. Only Upper Deck would be willing to go where no other manufacturer has gone before. past the game and right to the player. Upper Deck provides fans with a chance to really connect with their favorite player by going beyond the baseball diamond.
2010 UD will feature players working with the charities that they have founded and/ or support. Pictures will show players handing checks to board members, meeting with sick or underprivileged children, and generally making a difference in their communities. Working on building projects, sports clinics, and meet & greet sessions give fans a chance to see the great accomplishments of the players off the field. The back of the card will feature statistics about the charity and the player's involvement. Possible a quote or two from the star as well.
Insert cards will feature players enjoying a hobby, sitting with a pet, or standing with a favorite car, cycle, or tractor. Promotional cards include a chance for collectors to donate to a player's charity and be entered to win an autograph or a chance to meet the player.
Upper Deck is committed to maintaining a presence in the trading card community. UD understands brand loyalty and appreciates the customer base that been established over the past 20 years. Please continue to expect the best as we try innovative and exciting ways to get you closer to your favorite players.


Jennifer Daniels

As the "brains" of Upper Deck, a sports card production company, I would formulate the following plans to settle the legal disagreement, while in the meantime reeling in profit:


- Most of the athletes are only known as "A-Rod" or "Pujols", but it would be a hit if the baseball cards depict more of the players' off-field lives, street clothes, shopping, at a charity event. Perhaps a memorabilia card of Jeter at the Turn 2 Foundation?
- Going back in time, sports stars like Jason Bay and Jason Varitek all participated in the Little League World Series! It would appeal a lot to young sports card collectors if some of the events that happened before they turned pro were to be published!
- Every sports card collector loves to see that "Game-Used" symbol on their card, and baseball is no exception. Patches of jerseys, pieces of bats, and even a piece of game-used ball were all hard to find. It would be an excellent addition to add more of such memorabilia cards in the future.


With these ideas in mind, Upper Deck will sure have an edge over Topps!

My Idea for Upper Deck is to start a more personal approach to the players. Like Pro Set did with Proline. They could still have the players cards based in the team colors and they could even run silhouette inserts with the players in their uniforms. With the right lighting they could even get the shots with a nice clear view of the players face without showing a team. Rather than using the team name they could just use the city and either AL or NL after it as some of the current cards already do. Lastly, the could tap into the colleges possibly and make an insert set showing the players (Current as well as not yet drafted players) like Harper etc, in uniform with the college name under it.

Bryan Huey

If I were an executive at Upper Deck I would offer a few ideas to keep the product fresh and marketable in these upcoming days of non-licensing. It will be hard to compete with Topps as far as actual in-game action photos, but in keeping the cards appealing to the eye, it is always good to go with a good variety of team colors. Shiny is never bad, the photos of players will have to be paid much attention to detail, as well as some throwbacks of course.
Since the logos of teams cannot be used, to get the 'feel' for a team, using team colors on the bordering/background of the card would be good for fans. The player name, position, and number can be highlighted; and not forgotten about when the detail part comes in. The print has got to look catchy not just some block style. Adding a nice array of shine to the lettering/ border/background will help with the newer style sets. Utilizing photos where a player is swinging a bat and looking up, or a player making a diving catch while losing his hat, will help to keep the 'real' factor.
In total there should be about one to two sets cut back on to help give more attention to others, as well as 'loading' them up at the same time. The throwback sets should picture players in old looking uniforms. Adding interesting facts that are not on basically every card of the player ever made would help, too. To make it unique go for something that is not featured very often such as jumbo swatch sets or pieces (not full) of bat knobs of Hall of Famers will help to sell, also the same type of stuff Goodwin Champions did last year with the historic relics.


Jerad Winburn

Baseball has always been and will always continue to be the Nation's pastime. The need for Upper Deck to continue with baseball cards is critical to keep an semblance of competition. One suggestion would be to make a USA set. Not one that is the team USA set, but one that highlights both the history of the United States, while highlighting our heroes. Imagine pulling a card of Derek Jeter with a piece of his jersey, photo, and a description of someone or something that he feels is Patriotic about the heroes of 9/11. Too often the cards are just a photo with little text and information. If each player's card highlighted one important person, place, or event, that would amount to 750 (30 teams with 25 players) reasons to buy a box of cards.
risanjax

 

 

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