Upper Deck Working on Authorized Group Breaker Program

Upper Deck Working on Authorized Group Breaker Program

Group breaks are one of the fastest-growing areas of the hobby. While several manufacturers recognize and support group breakers, even if indirectly, Upper Deck is the first to create a partnership level. The company is now accepting applications for "Authorized Group Breakers."

Upper Deck's Authorized Group Breakers can expect special incentives and promo items. Also, customers and dealers will have better support from the company.

"Ever since getting back from this year's Industry Summitt in Las Vegas, we have been hosting weekly case breaks. Any opportunity I can better reward my collectors is awesome and incredibly appreciated," said Mike Fruitman of Mike's Stadium Sports Cards in Colorado. Fruitman did say that he would be applying for the Upper Deck Authorized Group Breaker program.

But there is a bit of a catch -- applications are only being accepted from Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealers. In order to qualify as a Certified Diamond Dealer, you must have a physical shop. So those breakers who operate exclusively online will not qualify.

"I hope in the future it's opened up some more. There are really good and reputable group breakers that are only online." says Sam Smith of CardSmithsBreaks.com.

For those unfamiliar with group breaks, it's similar to crowd sourcing a box or case. The cost of a case, box or whatever is being busted is broken down into smaller components -- often by team. The breaker opens the product and the collector gets whatever if pulled from their team or however the break is set up. Many shops are getting into group breaks and turning them into social nights.

Group breaks are also big online. These are done via live streaming, which opens things up to those who might not have a local hobby shop nearby. This also allows collectors to chat and trade with one another, adding a community element.

Upper Deck is accepting Authorized Group Breaker applications through the end of August and will announce the first batch in September.

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Ryan's collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

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