Thursday, October 22, 2009

The 500 Pound Gorilla

Frequently when I work on posts for this blog, I feel like I'm shilling for BBM. It seems like all the sets I talk about are BBM ones, and most of the cards that I post are BBM ones. Well, there's a reason for that - BBM has no real competition in the production of baseball cards in Japan.

Now, you're probably saying to yourself - wait a minute, what about Calbee? OK, here are some stats about card sets produced in Japan for 2008. These aren't production numbers (total number of cards printed) but counts of "regular" (cards that aren't insert or memorabilia cards) per set.

First, here's BBM's count per set for 2008:

1st Version523
2nd Version252
All Stars65
Back To The 70's144
Baystars 30th99
Baystars Team Set99
Buffaloes Team Set99
Carp Memorial45
Carp Team Set99
College National Team44
Dragons Team Set99
Eagles Team Set107
Fighters Team Set99
Giants Team Set117
Hakata Lions Memorial39
Hawks 70th99
Hawks Team Set99
Lions 30th99
Lions Classic24
Lions Team Set99
Lotte 40th99
Marines Team Set99
Nippon Series60
Olympic Team28
Rookie Edition100
Rookie Premium48
Swallows Team Set99
Tigers Team Set108
Tokyo Big 6 Autumn Version36
Tokyo Big 6 Spring Version60
Tomohiro Kuroki Memorial27
Touch The Game132

So that's 32 sets for a total of 3246 cards. Now, again, that's just "regular" cards - that doesn't include insert or memorabilia cards.

In contrast, here's what Calbee did in 2008:
Series One166
Series Two160
Series Three161

So that's 487 cards in three sets. And that count contains all the subset cards in addition to the 288 "regular" player cards.

It's not even close. This is not meant to disparage Calbee, just to point out how dominant BBM is in the Japanese card market. This is a little like the baseball card market in the US in the 1970's - dominated by one company - Topps. Except that BBM makes a hell of a lot more cards in a year than Topps did. And Calbee is basically the equivalent of the Kelloggs 3-D sets.


Jason said...

What about Konami? Did they release another baseball CCG set this year?

Does BBM have any actual competition in any area of trading cards? I know they do soccer and wrestling, as well as baseball.

NPB Card Guy said...

Great question, Jason! I had forgotten about Konami. I don't know if they did any sets this year. I'd give a generous estimate at their total card output to be maybe around 1000 per year.

Not sure what their equivalent in the 1970's US card market would be. Hostess maybe?

NPB Card Guy said...

BBM also does cards for sumo, beach volleyball, karate, bowling, badminton and handball. I have no idea if they have any competition for those cards either. Calbee does do soccer cards as well, but again they don't produce as many cards as BBM does.