The NFL Player of the Day program is now in its 10th year, and one star player on the Dallas Cowboys recently helped kick off its anniversary.
Cowboys wide receiver Patrick Crayton made an appearance last week at Gil's Infield, a hobby shop in Duncanville, Texas, to promote the popular program. Crayton's in-store appearance was arranged by NFL PLAYERS, the marketing and licensing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association.
Crayton spent his day off at Gil's, conducting a free autograph session, posing for photos with children and the store owners and interacting with customers. Since 2000, NFL PLAYERS has annually partnered with its trading card licensees to offer hobby retailers a powerful in-store promotion, Player of the Day, that has proven to increase sales of licensed NFL player trading cards. During the past decade, more than 10,000 free autographs have been awarded to collectors at participating stores.
Everyone who attended the event at Gil's came away pleased with its success.
"This was a great experience," said Gil Montalvo, owner of Gil's Infield. "Patrick was such a gentleman and we truly appreciate NFL PLAYERS and Panini America giving us this chance to host this event for our customers. Events like this are a great way to reward our customers for their support and also remind everyone how fun collecting NFL player trading cards can be."
This season, the promotion is once again being driven by trading card licensees Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck. It also is supported by additional NFL PLAYERS licensees, including The Licensed Products Company, McFarlane Toys, Riddell, WinCraft, Reebok, Pro Specialties Group and Team Beans/Forever Collectibles.
The centerpiece of the Player of the Day promotion is a poster featuring the trading card images of 32 NFL players (one per team). Each day, a different player is designated as the "Player of the Day." In addition, each of the 600 participating hobby shops across the country selects one player as the "Hometown Hero" for the duration of the 31-day promotion. Each time a collector purchases a pack of NFL PLAYERS officially-licensed trading cards in a participating hobby shop, he or she can win a prize if the Player of the Day or Hometown Hero is inside the pack.
Stores conduct drawings among the daily winners to award a weekly prize. At the conclusion of the month-long promotion, each store will award the autographed card to its store winner, who then will be eligible to be entered into the national sweepstakes.
Crayton, who has 15 receptions for 243 yards (16.2 avg.) and a touchdown this season, has earned a reputation as an explosive receiver, a reliable target for Tony Romo and a fan favorite among Cowboys faithful. The turnout at his appearance was impressive, as fans didn't want to miss the rare chance to meet and greet the starting wideout in person.
Crayton signed free autographs for more than 130 customers at Gil's Infield. A representative from Panini America, which helped organize the autograph session, also attended the event and mingled with collectors to gather their thoughts about the trading card industry.
Scott Prusha, Director of Marketing for Panini America, was glad to be a part of the return of the Player of the Day program in conjunction with the new NFL season.
"We appreciate the opportunity to present this event, along with NFL PLAYERS, as part of the NFL Player of the Day program," Prusha said. "Just like this event, the NFL Player of the Day program is one of the industry's most successful promotions because it benefits collectors, hobby shops and licensees."
Next Tuesday, two more NFL players will make similar hobby shop appearances as part of the NFL Player of the Day program. Chicago Bears running back Garrett Wolfe will be signing autographs at Big John & Little Debby's in Chicago, while Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess will do the same at Miami's Bases Loaded.