Backyard Breaks is no stranger to scandal. We have covered them before concerning a scandal involving a Trevor Lawrence Kaboom! card. Now they face new allegations.
Some sharp-eyed hobby enthusiasts have noticed that Backyard Breaks have scored an improbable number of massive hits off Panini products. But how credible are these allegations? We will dive in for you on our coverage of the Backyard Breaks inside deals scandal.
Backyard Breaks may be the most popular breakers in the hobby right now. Established quite recently, in January 2020, they focus solely on live stream breaks and sales.
Located in Florida, they are known for having a very flamboyant style, trying to make sure there are no dull moments in their breaks. To some, they are highly entertaining. Others find their kind obnoxious and loud.
Grant Telford is the CEO and owner of the company. He is often seen breaking on their live streams on Whatnot and elsewhere.
In a live-streamed break, the guys pulled a Lawrence Gold Kaboom. They had previously promised the contents of the last two boxes would be given away for free to a few random new Twitch followers.
The aim was to drive up their following on Twitch. So Grant, one of the breakers, said, “it’s only fair to give it to the person, even though it’s a monster card.” But the other individual involved, Nicky Rips, replied, “that’s not fair. It’s a $15,000 card. Not 15, it’s 20.”
Backyards Breaks kept the card before announcing they would give it out in a second break, which they did. However, many people believed the second break was staged.
We talked to the individual who won the card, and they claimed to have won it fair and square. Maybe they did. But as far as many observers were concerned, the trust was gone.
You may remember that Panini caused a gold rush in the hobby earlier this year by announcing a Triple Logoman featuring patches from all of the teams “King James” played for in the 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball release. So naturally, everyone tried to pull it. The purported “biggest break in history” featured 25 boxes of the product. But they came up empty.
But who landed the card? Yup, our friends at Backyard Breaks. They pulled the most coveted card in years on a Whatnot break.
When Backyard Breaks hit that card, there were some rumblings. Just before it, Whatnot had launched a promotion promising the person who pulled the LeBron triple a Lamborghini as long as they sold it on the platform.
The massive promo just before the card was pulled seemed highly suspicious to many people. So did Whatnot or Backyard Breaks know they would pull the card before they did?
As we have seen, Backyard Breaks does not have the most sterling reputation in the business. So naturally, people have been watching them pretty closely, especially since the Trevor Lawrence mess in January.
Many people noticed how many massive hits these guys were pulling and how regularly they were doing so. It wasn’t long before a theory emerged that Backyard Breaks was receiving “hot boxes” from a supplier.
Eric Whiteback, the self-proclaimed “collectibles guru,” posted a fascinating thread on Twitter on October 14th. It immediately made a lot of waves.
You should read the entire thread. But let me summarize it for you. He talks about four specific cards:
Why these? They aren’t just any old case hit. These are product hits, the best card you can pull in an entire product line release. Well, in the case of Flawless, the two best cards. Backyard Breaks pulled all four of these incredible cards. Are they fortunate? Possibly. Now admittedly, luck is something I know very little about. But it’s possible.
Pulling those cards is incredibly lucky. Especially getting the two top cards from the 2021 Flawless release. It was the most hyped release in recent years. Maybe ever. And they pulled two cards? So, not surprisingly, Eric thinks something is rotten in the kingdom of Denmark.
He looked at the print run for the three products in question. So this is the math Eric presents. Makes sense to me. But can’t vouch for it 100%.
That is a lot of boxes.
We don’t know exactly how many boxes they opened because the breakers are not releasing their numbers. But the math is pretty simple. You would need Backyard to spend $40,138,800 on the products to have a 0.5% chance of getting these cards.
Don’t get me wrong; Backyard Breaks are a big player. They rip a ton of boxes. But according to Eric, an inside source confirmed that the breakers rip 12 boxes of NT daily.
By quick math, that means they opened about 1,000 boxes. So if these figures are a good ballpark, their odds of hitting the cards are 1:117,605. So for less than 5,000, they would need to hit 0.5%. And man, even those odds sound pretty far-fetched.
Honestly, it seems pretty much impossible that any one breaker would hit all these cards.
The allegations here are just that. There is no smoking gun to prove anything. And if there is an agreement between Panini and Backyard Breaks, they would not leave a paper trail.
There is also a flaw in the logic of people like Eric Whiteback. After all, he is working his way back from already pulled cards. But aside from the LeBron triple, which is undoubtedly the best card of the year, it is debatable if the other cards are necessarily top ten for 2022.
Statisticians have a name for this phenomenon. They call it the law of truly large numbers. The idea is that anything that occurs is based on several low-probability events. But when we break them down, we tend to notice the improbable parts rather than the probable ones.
In other words, weird stuff always happens, and we can make anything seem unlikely. As Penn Jillette once said, “Million-to-one odds happen eight times a day in New York.”
Nonetheless, even if the odds aren’t quite as slim as Whiteback says, they seem very long.
But here is the most disturbing part. Assuming this is true, it is almost certain that Panini is in on the scam. After all, no distributor gets all the product and would have a monopoly on these product hits.
Why would they do it? We can only speculate. But take a product like Flawless. How many people can afford to buy them for $14,000? If they just sold on the open market to ordinary people, the price would likely tumble down to something more manageable. But what if they can get breakers to buy boxes at high prices?
It might be pretty tempting to help preferred breakers make big profits. That way, Panini can keep prices up, and Backyard Breaks can get many subscribers. I mean, seeing Nicky Rips in a tank top is no doubt a great draw.
But constantly getting massive hits is a smidge better. It keeps people watching and buying into breaks. From Panini’s perspective, giving it to more significant breaks gets as many eyeballs as possible on their biggest cards.
That keeps us gullible Joe-six-packs buying boxes we can’t afford. A real win-win for everyone. Everyone but regular collectors like us.
Assuming that there is some form of shady dealings, this potential scandal isn’t just another breaker issue. It concerns the entire hobby. Boxes of Panini products go for insanely high prices. In the vast majority of cases, you are getting a terrible deal. The value of the cards you are likely to pull is usually far lower than what you pay.
We understand this and buy in anyway. We do this because we love cards and the hobby. But also because of that outside chance of hitting a life-changing card.
If the product hits are all going to the biggest breakers, the actual value of the boxes we buy is far lower than we think. And the chances of winning that big card are an illusion.