Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Big League IS Bunt
I've seen it enough on the blogs and Twitter to know what I was getting, so I wasn't surprised by anything. What does surprise me is all the praise this set is getting for replacing Topps Bunt. That's because this set is Topps Bunt, with a different name and $.99 more per pack (although I do believe a pack of Bunt had 7 cards versus the 10 that Big League provides).
It's not exactly apples to apples, but these sets are far more alike than many will admit or want to hear, starting with the card stock. Bunt seems to have been taboo because of the connection to the digital card app, which I never understood. To me, the set could easily be enjoyed without worry about any connection to app.
As for the Big League cards, I expected a more traditional cardboard feeling product, almost like a late '80s card or a modern day Heritage (maybe a little less thick). The card stock reminded me exactly of...
I also found a retired legend in my pack. Hmmm, you know what else had legends in the set? 2016 Bunt.
And the backs of the cards resemble a more traditional card back with a few years of stats and a write-up versus the few-sentence write-up that Bunt has. I do like that better. But does that justify $1.99 per pack versus $.99? 2018 Bunt, if it existed, could have easily had both of these things.
They both have a few inserts too. The first year of Bunt had: Unique Unis, Future of the Franchise, Light Force, Programs, Title Town, Moonshots, Stadium Heritage, and Autographs. Big League has Players' Weekend, Ministers of Mash, Autographs, and Rookie Republic autographs. And of course, the inserts have parallels.
None of this is to poo poo on Big League. It's a fine set and a good effort and I like it a heck of a lot more than A&G or Gypsy Queen. I just find it interesting how many people dismissed Bunt the last two years because of the digital connotation to the app, while praising Big League as a set that really gets what collectors want. They are by and large the exact same product, but the dollar price point was taken away from us. That's a big deal, at least to a frugal collector like me.
I tip my cap to Topps Marketing team for this one. They created a product that could have easily been branded as the third year of Bunt, gave it a generic baseball name (Big League!), and increased the SRP from $.99 to $1.99...and seemed to have created a winner in the minds of collectors. It truly was just a re-brand, but I think they did a great job making it feel new and different. That's some sound marketing.