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September 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 9




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Sports Action Figures Cast a Spell

Prized Collectibles Carry Weight in All Seasons


“People are buying them because they not only look really cool, but because they have to have them.” David Levy, Big Kid Collectable Toy Mall
Sports fanatics don’t just go out and wear their favorite team jerseys or add to their baseball card collection anymore. Sports action figures are becoming a popular way for fans to support their local teams on and off season, sources told PlayZak, and just as kids are with Pokémon, many have to collect them all.

ADDICTED TO COLLECTING

“I think that once you start collecting these figures, it becomes almost addictive,” said David Levy, owner of Big Kid Collectable Toy Mall & Retro Store in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “People are buying them because they not only look really cool, but because they have to have them.”

“I think it’s similar to why kids buy action figures,” said Tim Walsh, leading toy expert and author of “Timeless Toys.” “People buy them because they look up to the players; they want to emulate them. They sort of pretend to be the character, just as kids do with action figures.”

MCFARLANE LEADS THE SCOREBOARD

More and more athletes have their own action figures these days. And for those who don’t, such as Tiger Woods, it’s likely only a matter of time. Levy pointed out that McFarlane Toys is by far the leading manufacturer of sports action figures.

“There’s no question that our McFarlane figures sell well beyond anything else in our store,” he said. “They’ve done really well, especially the Legends line. They’re reasonably priced and they’re cool to look at. …I have a customer who’s covered two entire walls in his office with nothing but McFarlane sports figures.”

Levy said football figures outsell other sports figures, and hockey figures are the least popular.

“Basketball does pretty well, too,” Levy added. “Magic Johnson is very popular right now. Any of the LA figures sell.”

KEEP IT LOCAL

Localization is key for collectibles, as fans are interested mainly in their local teams.

Saskia Lenis, manager at Forbidden Planet comic book store in New York City said that roughly 85 percent of her customers who buy sports figurines are adults.

“I have a lot of regulars coming in trying to build their collection,” she told PlayZak. “Sometimes they take it a little too seriously, but they just want a piece to remind them of a great moment.”

’TIS THE SEASON

According to Lenis, sports figures sell based on which sport is in season.

“It’s baseball season right now, so we’re pretty well stocked with baseball figures,” she explained.

Players who’ve never been made into action figures before also sell quite well, she added: “It’s all about that first figure.”

Wrestling action figures are popular, too. Jakks Pacific has exclusive rights to WWE action figures, a top seller at Forbidden Planet, releasing figures based on everyone from former Women’s Champion Trish Stratus to Stephanie McMahon. The downside to stocking wrestlers, however, is that they come and go a lot faster than other sports players.

“One minute a certain wrestler is really hot, and the next minute his figure isn’t selling well at all,” Lenis said. “Whichever wrestler holds the belt is always a great seller. So for right now, John Cena is doing pretty well.”

See some new and popular collectibles below:




MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 76450
Launch Date: September 2006
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
Collectibles
Licensed Products



NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson is now available from McFarlane Toys Sports Picks. Crafted in exquisite detail, this 6” figure is a great addition to any sports fan’s collection of memorabilia. Johnson looks so realistic it’s almost “magic.” This figure comes with its own base on which fans can perch Johnson as he would appear on the basketball court. Launch date: September 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15353      (added 9/24/2007)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: July 2007
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
Collectibles



This 6” model of Andy Pettitte stands frozen in mid-pitch on a 7” x 3” base. He comes with his baseball, his glove and his New York Yankees uniform. Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15212      (added 9/18/2007)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: July 2007
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
Collectibles



This is the second Johnny Damon figurine in McFarlane Toys’ MLB Series line. Here, the New York Yankees’ center fielder is depicted in mid-stride on his way out of the dugout waving to the crowd. The 6” collectible comes with a 4” x 6” dugout base. Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15213      (added 9/18/2007)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: July 2007
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
Collectibles



Poised in his classic post-homerun stance, this figure of the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees Hall-of-Famer stands 6” tall. He can be purchased in either team uniform and comes with a baseball bat, a helmet and a 7” x 5-1/2” base. Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15214      (added 9/18/2007)
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MSRP: $8.97
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: RA27-02
Launch Date: July 2007
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
Collectibles
Licensed Products



The wildly popular John Cena is ripped and ready for action in Marine-style shorts and his WWE Championship belt, which can be removed. Launch date: Summer 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15354      (added 9/24/2007)
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MSRP: $15.97
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: RA28-07
Launch Date: September 2007
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures



WWE’s blonde bombshell, Torrie Wilson, comes dressed to distress in JAKK’s newest installment of Ruthless Aggression 28 action figures. Watch out—just because this WWE diva has never held a championship belt doesn’t mean that she doesn’t mean business. Wilson, a former Ms. Galaxy Winner and cover girl, comes with her own storage locker that can be used as a weapon. Launch date: September 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14935      (added 8/29/2007)
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MSRP: $15.97
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: RA29-05
Launch Date: October 2007
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures



Unleash the Animal! WWE’s former World Heavyweight Champion, Batista, is pumped up and ready for action inside the ring. Deliver the deadly Batista Bomb on your opponents and reclaim the gold. Afterwards, celebrate with some classic in-ring posing for the fans. This multi-poseable 6-inch figure comes fully detailed, with realistic tattoos rendered exactly the way you’d see them on the real Batista. Launch date: Early October 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14936      (added 8/29/2007)
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MSRP: $99.47
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: RING-02
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures



JAKKS advertises the Elimination Chamber as the largest WWE ring playset they’ve ever made, and that’s no joke! This 33 by 15-inch steel-caged ring can hold a whopping 85 WWE action figures inside to host an all-out brawl. 12 Turnbuckles, 4 die-cast metal posts, four sliding chamber doors and a removeable roof, this 40-piece ring is a must-own for any WWE action figure collector.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14937      (added 8/29/2007)
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Upper Deck welcomes the new era of sports action figurines and collectibles, where urban aesthetics and iconic athletes meet to create hip All-Star vinyl figurines.  Urban vinyl is the hottest underground trend in the toy industry and Upper Deck has become the first to introduce it to the sports marketplace with the launch of the product line earlier this year.  Just in time for the holidays, Upper Deck will release the new King James vinyl set – a follow-up to the highly-successful Nike LeBron vinyl set released earlier this year.
  • Large 12” vinyl figurines.
  • Nike LeBron vinyl set continues to be a highly-sought after product since its launch in March.
  • Hip urban aesthetic introduces a fresh look to the sports figure marketplace.
  • Future vinyl sets will feature top players and key athletes.
  • Each set has a very limited run and availability.
  • On the front end of the latest trend in toy and collectible marketplace.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9696      (added 10/16/2006)
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