The #1 authority on collectibles
|Industry||Electronic publishing, publishing|
|Genre||Automotive, collectibles, entertainment, sports, trading cards, video game|
|Founded||Bowling Green, Ohio (1984)|
|Headquarters||Dallas, Texas, U.S.|
|Products||Collector memorabilia, books, DVDs, magazines, novelties, pricing guides|
|Services||Sports card grading|
|Revenue||$14.1 million (2007)|
|Divisions||magazine publication, Beckett Grading Services|
|Website||http://www.beckett.com/ and http://www.beckettmedia.com/|
Beckett Media is a privately held company. Founded in 1984 by James Beckett as Beckett Publications, the company focuses on the collectible industries, especially in the area of sports collectibles.
James Beckett, considered to be one of the world's leading authorities on sports memorabilia cards, was a statistics professor before he decided to turn his love of sports cards into a business. In the 1970s, Beckett was responsible for some of the baseball card industry's earliest price guides, which offered more detail on the prices of specific cards than the newsletters that had previously been read by collectors. He founded Beckett Publications in 1984.
In January 2005, Beckett sold the company to Apprise Media, which wanted to expand its niche and enthusiast media holdings. The company was renamed Beckett Media as part of the sale. On January 26, Apprise Media hired Peter A. Gudmundsson as the company CEO.
Less than four years after the Apprise Media acquisition, Beckett Media was rumored to again be for sale in May 2008, with five unspecified companies considering purchasing the company.
In 2010, the company began an overhaul of its online presence. On March 8, 2010, the company announced that it was partnering with SeatGeek as part of its website enhancement. Through the partnership, sports ticket search engine SeatGeek links will be included on all of the site's major sports team and leagues pages that allow viewers to directly access SeatGeek's ticket search system for that team.
Beckett Media publishes numerous price guides and other books related to collectibles and distributes sports memorabilia. One of the company's early publications was Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, which had a peak readership of around one million. Author Dave Jamieson has written that "Jim Beckett's valuations served as the foundation for all card trades". In 2008, Beckett converted its four monthly price guides for football, baseball, hockey, and basketball cards, into seasonal titles. Beckett Sports Card Monthly became its only monthly sports related magazine with its premiere in April 2008.
The company also publishes four magazines covering non-sports collectible card games, such as Magic: The Gathering, and hobby/entertainment topics such as anime and manga. In 2005, the various titles had a combined circulation of 800,000 copies. In 2008, the circulation varies between 500,000 and 700,000, and the company began cutting back on its monthly publications to reduce overhead. While the plan was successful, it also earned the company flack from consumers and caused a continuing decrease in sales. In 2003, virtual pets site Neopets selected Beckett Media as the publisher of its new monthly Neopets: The Official Magazine. The bi-monthly magazine premiered in September 2003, and was canceled in January 2008 after 26 issues. Beckett replace the issues remaining in pre-paid subscriptions with their new bi-monthly magazine, Plushie Pals.[unreliable source?] Aimed at plushie collectors, Plushie Pals includes pricing guides for a range of plushie lines, including Neopets, Webkinz, Shining Stars, TY Beanie Babies, and Pokémon. In October 2009, Beckett replaced Plushie Pals with a new magazine, FUN! Online Games, which focuses on various kid and family oriented online game sites, including Webkinz, Club Penguin, Neopets, Disney Online and Wizard 101. According to the company, in its first month it had 100,000 readers.
The company made its first foray into the video game arena in 2006, with the creation of Beckett Massive Online Gamer. The first issue was released in May 2006 and included information for players of various massively multiplayer online games (MMORGs), products related to the games, and articles on lifestyle and entertainment topics.
Beginning in 1995, Beckett used the Internet to facilitate sales of collectibles and sports cards. The company had affiliations with dealers of collectibles, and its website contained a searchable inventory of products, which consumers were able to buy from the sellers through links on Beckett's site. As of 2005, $13 million worth of products were sold through this system, and 165 dealers had affiliations by the following year.
Sports card grading
The company's publications introduced an early grading system for cards, which provided a way to gauge their condition. Six levels were spelled out, from mint to poor condition. Beckett Media runs a sports card grading service, Beckett Grading Services, which is the exclusive grader and authenticator of Topps Vault trading cards.
In November 2005, the company began working to create a social networking website for casual sports fans. In April 2006, they launched the resulting site, FanSpot.com, at the 2006 National Sports Collectors Convention. By the end of the month, the site had 1800 registered users. Unfortunately, the site didn't hold the same traction with fans that Beckett's principle website held with collectors. By the end of 2008 user activity on the site ceased completely, though the most parts of the site were still active. By 2013, Fanspot had shut down and its URL now redirects to Beckett.com.
- "Beckett Media". Hoover's. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
- Churcher, Sharon (January 19, 2008). "Mark Thatcher's ex-wife Diane to marry £15 million American tycoon". Mail Online. The Daily Mail. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
- Jamieson, Dave (2010). Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession. New York City: Atlantic Monthly Press. pp. 149–150. ISBN 978-0-8021-1939-1.
- Bounds, Jeff (July 8, 2005). "Beckett covers bases with revamp". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- "Beckett Publications sold to New York media company". Dallas Business Journal. January 26, 2005. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
- Ives, Nat (January 26, 2005). "Apprise Media Buys Publisher of Price Guides". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
- "Gudmundsson Named CEO of Beckett Media; Will Work to Expand Company Through New Products & Services" (Press release). Apprise Media. Business Wire. January 26, 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
- Moore, Dave (May 13, 2008). "Less than four years later, Beckett again for sale". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved September 21, 2008.[dead link]
- "Beckett Media Signs Partnership with SeatGeek" (Press release). PR Web. March 8, 2010. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
- "Corporate Overview". Beckett Media. Archived from the original on 25 January 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
- Jamieson, pp. 149–151.
- Jamieson, p. 151.
- "2008 Beckett Sports Lineup FAQ". Beckett Media. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
- Dobson, Jason (April 13, 2006). "Beckett to Launch MMOG Magazine". Gamasutra. Think Services. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
- "Neopets News". Neopets. September 11, 2003. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
- Letter to subscribers sent by Beckett media
- "Red Hot Collectibles Covered in Beckett's Plushie Pals" (Press release). Beckett Media. Business Wire. July 3, 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
- "Beckett Launches FUN! Online Games Magazine To Feature Kid- and Family-Friendly Online Games and Communities" (Press release). Beckett Media. Marketwire. October 18, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
- Quinton, Brian (July 5, 2006). "Sports Collectibles Site Powers up Major League Search". Direct Magazine. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
- Jamieson, p. 150.
- "Beckett Partners". Beckett Media. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
- Davis, Steve (August 22, 2006). "Stars' version of two-a-days". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
- "FanSpot Asks: Are You Fan Enough?" (Press release). FanSpot. Marketwire. August 22, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
- Batheja, Aman (August 30, 2006). "Company takes a swing at creating a MySpace for sports fans". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "FanSpot.com has 1,800 members, [Beckett Media spokesman Elon] Werner said."