One of the ongoing puzzles facing sports card manufacturers is devising a way to connect with the next generation of collectors. Since reaching out to them online seems like a smart way to go, Topps took a stab at it last year with its ToppsTown virtual community.
Now Upper Deck is set to launch its own, even more ambitious online offering. Described as a "sports-themed virtual world for kids that marries physical trading cards to a massive, multiplayer online gaming experience," UpperDeckU looks to link card collecting with a few popular trends.
The key to building a presence within UpperDeckU will be special codes printed within wrappers of various Upper Deck products. Smartly, the company will be including the codes only in its more affordable brands of cards throughout 2009.
I'll definitely be keeping an eye on the new venture when it debuts on Feb. 3 with the release of 2009 UD1 Baseball. Upper Deck will be unveiling a multi-pronged ad campaign in March, but you can get a sneak peek now by visiting www.upperdecku.com.