Bowman Next Launches Arizona Fall League Sets, Daily Updates

When San Francisco Giants prospect Joey Bart hit two home runs on day one of the six-week Arizona Fall League, Bowman Next was ready to commemorate the event with a special-edition card as part of the brand’s first foray into both Arizona Fall League trading cards and Topps Now online abilities.

Jeff Heckman, director of global ecommerce for Topps, says the new Bowman Next sets gives the brand the opportunity to offer new cards on a daily basis, based on top player performances. Those cards go live on the site. “It is the first time Bowman Next has ever taken it online and utilized the Topps Now model to have the biggest moments only available for a short period of time and then printed and shipped to homes,” Heckman says.

Bowman, which has been part of the Topps brand since the 1950s, has had a sponsorship relationship with the Arizona Fall League for about five years, but they’ve never before covered the league with a set of cards in this way.

The card sets — each of the six teams features 10 players for 60 total player cards — highlight the vast majority of the players and are now available. Along with the daily offering based on top players and performances, the Arizona Fall League effort will also include autograph cards and game-used memorabilia cards, whether a ball, base, bat or jersey. “We are looking to offer whatever we can,” Heckman says. “This is a way to extend the partnership with the Arizona Fall League the whole year.”

Bowman has, in the past, created an Arizona Fall League subset in the following year’s collection, but by getting ahead of the game this year — and staying current throughout the six-week league — Bowman aims to really capitalize on the ongoing interest of the league. The six teams are the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Surprise Saguaros, Glendale Desert Dogs and Peoria Javelinas.

The creation of the Arizona Fall League sets also marks what could be an entry into more minor league and prospect work for Bowman, coupling with the Topps Now online program to extend Bowman’s reach into new areas of baseball.

“We’ve been happy with the way collectors and fans have taken to it,” Heckman says. “There are certainly a number of people who have bought the sets and we are pleased with that. The early returns are positive, and we are really bullish on it.”

Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

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