Most people consider NFL Score to be a pretty low-end release. As a result, snootier collectors tend to ignore NFL Score. However, it may be time to reevaluate. Both the cards and sealed packs have been reselling at decent price points, and two strong rookie classes in a row may have added value to the cards. So, with that in mind, we ask, is NFL Score worth it?
Score is Panini’s first release every year. Seeing the product hit shelves signifies that the NFL collecting season has arrived. That should be exciting, sure, but the historic value of the cards doesn’t match the hype of the NFL season.
Score has a massive checklist. It includes no less than 400 base cards. The hobby boxes have ten packs of 40 cards each, and they are said to average 90 rookies per box, along with four autographs.
This product provides collectors with many cards and a fun ripping experience. So, if you like lots of cards for a reasonable price, it is right up your alley.
Also of note, this year’s Score football has a Tom Brady TD Tribute set, where each hobby box has one card commemorating a specific touchdown in Brady’s career. In case you’re wondering that set is 581 cards. It will be interesting to see if any collectors assemble the entire checklist with a list that long.
Remember when the first wave of pandemic collecting took off, and people were clearing the shelves at Walmarts and Targets across the country? They scooped up everything from NBA to Fortnite cards.
Do you remember what was left? You guessed it: Score. Playful pictures emerged from around the country of barren card shelves except for the unopened 2020 Score boxes.
But why is that the case? Why do collectors seem to avoid Score?
To answer that, think about it with Panini’s bottom-line in mind: If they include 400 cards in a hobby box that is selling for around $300, the cost per card needs to be very low. That means they invest little to make a profit offsetting the cost of design, printing, and distribution.
Therefore, Score cards are straightforward. They have no bells and whistles, no chrome or refractors.
There is a parallel set. However, that is a classic take Score has used for years. It has some low-numbered variations of the base cards, with parallels like Scorecard, Gold Zone (/50), Artist Proof (/35), and End Zone (/6).
So, if there was one “condemning” reason Score is not a darling in the eyes of most collectors; it’s how basic the car set looks and feels. You can almost feel Panini’s cost-cutting as you flip through a stack of the over-the-top plain cards.
Some collectors are traumatized by memories of the 2011 Score set. It included the same parallels as always, except Panini didn’t number them to cut costs. Instead, collectors got a message that said, “Yeah, we promise there are only six of the end zone parallels, but you’ll just have to take our word for it.”
That was in Panini’s early days of NFL cards, so it has learned a bit from experience over the years.
Finally, the last chink in Score’s armor is that the cards are college jersey rookies. Collectors prefer players in their NFL uniforms, so as soon as those cards begin hitting shelves, Score becomes more of an afterthought.
Score—both the cards and sealed products—is selling well. A Trevor Lawrence base rookie sells for about $12. That isn’t bad for a box that retails for $20 and has 132 cards.
On top of that, parallels drive sales for sports cards. To their credit, Panini has done a much better job including parallels this season. Even the blaster boxes have 6 parallels, including an exclusive “lava parallel.” If you were lucky enough to pull a parallel of a star rookie, the package can provide you a very nice return.
Pro-tip: the hobby box is significantly better at these price points because of the four autographs. However, only if you are going to rip. We will discuss holding values further down.
To determine the value of Score, let’s look at recent sales data.
While Trevor Lawrence score rookies are selling for about $12 each, the base Justin Herbert sells for about $5. Since Herbert is a proven star and last year’s ROY, that’s not a good sign for the product.
Additionally, other 2021 standout rookies are barely selling for enough to bother with shipping. Mac Jones, for example, sells for about $3.
So what about the sealed product?
Fortunately, the resell for sealed Score fares better. For example, the 2020 blaster boxes resell for about $50 now. If you bought them for $20 a year ago, that is a great return. The hobby boxes have gone up, too—selling for $350 instead of $300—but the return is much weaker.
Either way, expectation exceeding reality seems to be boosting sealed Score resells.
If you are trying to make the most money off Score possible, buying blaster boxes and holding them is your best play.
Ripping is only a viable option if you are looking for some fun opening cards but are okay with not breaking even. Unfortunately, that most likely, that will be the outcome. Fortunately, Score is an inexpensive brand, so it could be a great rip to do with your kids to help get them into collecting.
Flipping Score, at least short-term, isn’t worth the effort. If you buy a $20 blaster and sell it for $35 online, it won’t be worth your effort after shipping and fees.
However, passing altogether is still the best move. Ultimately, Score doesn’t have a great track record for keeping long-term value. We are also concerned that the value has been artificially inflated by the COVID-19 card bubble and the exceptionally exciting rookie class of 2021. There is a very good chance prices will fall next year.
Considering that the profit margin is not that high to begin with, there is only one conclusion: Score is still not a worthwhile investment. However, it remains a fun low-cost rip.