SkyBox International

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SkyBox International Inc.
Impel Marketing
Public corporation
Industry trading cards
Genre sports
Fate merger
Successor Fleer/SkyBox International
Founded 1989; 29 years ago (1989)
Defunct 1995; 23 years ago (1995)
Headquarters Durham, North Carolina, US
Products trading cards
milk caps
Brands SkyBox

SkyBox International Inc., formerly Impel Marketing, was an American trading card manufacturing company based in Durham, North Carolina started in 1989 and operated until 1995.


Impel Marketing[edit]

The Liggett Group Inc., a tobacco business, was already in other industries by 1990 in collectible sports cards and Finland confectionery product US distribution as they use the same distribution channels used for cigarettes that service newsstands and tobacco shops.[1] The collectible sports cards was started in 1989.[2] Liggett started it sports cards business in 1989. On July 26, 1990, majority owner BSL Partners' Bennett LeBow had the shareholders vote to rename Liggett Group, Inc. to Brooke Groups, Inc. and form two subsidiaries, Liggett Group, Inc. and Impel Marketing Inc. for its tobacco business and for its non-tobacco activities respectively.[1]


Impel Marketing changed its name to SkyBox International in April 1992 while appointing Magic Johnson as its spokesperson.[3] SkyBox was chosen to match its sports card brand. The company indicated that it would issue 20 product lines for the year including U.S. OLYMPICARDS, MLB licensed AA and AAA baseball cards. Marvel Universe, Star Trek, and Disney Collector Cards were entertainment lines amongst the indicated lines.[4] SkyBox started making milk caps under the name SkyCaps beginning with DC SkyCaps in June 1993.[5]

Bennett LeBow controlled Brooke Group, Inc. spun SkyBox off as a NASDAQ traded public company on October 7, 1993.[6] In 1995, Marvel Entertainment Group purchased SkyBox for $150 million.[7] Marvel merged SkyBox and Fleer as Fleer/SkyBox International.[8]


SkyBox also produced many licensed non-sports trading cards, including sets for [[The Walt Disney Company|Disney]], Star Trek and Marvel Comics.[4] The Lion King cards for Disney were among the most successful card sets ever produced.

SkyBox also produced SkyCaps, its milk caps games brand. Cap series including DC Comics, "Jurassic Park" and the Batman Knightfall, and a National Football League series.[5]


One of the first card companies on the Internet, SkyBox branched into multimedia, producing CD-ROM collectibles and games. With Skyborg: Into the Vortex, the company stated, "SkyBox is well-known for its marketing and technological innovations, of which this first-ever interactive, multimedia card line, which is also SkyBox's first CD-ROM product, is only the most recent example."[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Ramirez, Anthony (June 22, 1990). "Liggett to Change Its Focus With Shift From Cigarettes". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  2. ^ "History of Vector Group Ltd". Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ Elliott, Stuart (April 21, 1992). "The Media Business - Advertising - Addenda - Miscellany". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Impel Changes Name To Skybox; Signs Magic Johnson As Company Spokesperson - Free Online Library". SkyBox International. Retrieved June 3, 2016 – via The Free Library. 
  5. ^ a b "Will Cardboard Caps From Milk Bottles Become Cream Of All". Hartford Courant. Times Mirror Company. July 26, 1993. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ Norris, Floyd (October 8, 1993). "Market Place; The Brooke Group thinks more of a spinoff than the market does". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Other News". Los Angeles Times. Times Mirror Company. 1995-03-10. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  8. ^ "Fleer/skybox Sale Finally Goes Through". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Knight Ridder. 1999-02-04. Retrieved 2016-06-03.