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Ultimate Line-Up lands lucrative licensing deal

Rick Moses, 36, has collected sports trading cards since he was a teenager. Even though he knew a lot about collecting, he found himself in a whole new ball game when he started Ultimate Line-Up Inc., the only African American-owned company licensed to produce Major League Baseball "MLB" and "Major Leagues" redirect here. For other uses, see MLB (disambiguation) and Major Leagues (disambiguation).
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball.
 and National Hockey League National Hockey League (NHL)

Organization of professional North American ice-hockey teams. The league was formed in 1917 by five Canadian teams; the first U.S. team, the Boston Bruins, was added in 1924. It today consists of 30 teams in two conferences and six divisions.
 card games.

"I took a few knocks because I didn't understand the business side of the industry," explains Moses. Undaunted, he followed the industry closely, attended trade shows and studied existing products to learn what worked and what didn't and why. "Fortunately, I also met some people who held my hand and taught me a lot during that period."

Moses was still working as a facilities engineer for Chevron when he formed Ultimate Line-Up in Pleasanton, California Pleasanton, nicknamed "P-town"<ref name="">Ptown (Pleasanton) Bike Advocates Meeting, East Bay Bicycle Coalition website, August 14, 2007, retrieved August 17, 2007, is a city in Alameda County, California and was incorporated in 1894. , in 1996. While attending a national toy and game trade show in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
, he found investors willing to back his concepts. After several presentations, he raised $500,000 to get started. Soon, with interest in his product from Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, he made a full: time commitment to the company. Now, four years later, what was a hobby has become a growing business. Last year, the company grossed close to $600,000.

Despite launching his company with money from investors, Moses retains controlling interest controlling interest

The ownership of a quantity of outstanding corporate stock sufficient to control the actions of the firm. Controlling interest often involves ownership of significantly less than 51% of a firm's outstanding stock because many owners fail
 and owns all of the trademarks and copyrights. Contract professionals provide the graphic designs and the cards are manufactured by Upper Deck, a leading trading card producer. Moses is presently seeking a manufacturer in the Pacific Rim Pacific Rim, term used to describe the nations bordering the Pacific Ocean and the island countries situated in it. In the post–World War II era, the Pacific Rim has become an increasingly important and interconnected economic region. , a move that will greatly reduce costs.

Convincing the Baseball Players Association to license his cards was an expensive but essential step. "Without licensing, retailers are unwilling to carry the products and league players could not be featured in their team uniforms on the cards," says Moses.

Fees are determined by the popularity of the sport. For instance, licensing from Major League Baseball costs $30,000 a year, plus 7% royalty. The NBA NBA
abbr.
1. National Basketball Association

2. National Boxing Association

NBA (US) n abbr (= National Basketball Association) → Basketball-Dachverband (=
 licensing agreement is the most expensive and is out of his reach for the moment.

Ultimate Line-Up's gin rummy-style sports game A sports game is a computer or video game that simulates the playing of traditional sports. They are extremely popular, the genre including some of the best-selling games.  for youth and young adults is sold in national retailers such as Toys `B' Us, Kmart and Genesis National Pro Sports Catalog catalog, descriptive list, on cards or in a book, of the contents of a library. Assurbanipal's library at Nineveh was cataloged on shelves of slate. The first known subject catalog was compiled by Callimachus at the Alexandrian Library in the 3d cent. B.C. , as well as in the Baseball Hall of Fame and some hobby shops. At $7.99 retail, the game is selling very well, a fact Moses attributes to its simplicity. Because the game doesn't require an extensive knowledge of sports trivia, it appeals to casual as well as die-hard fans.

Ultimate Line-Up also designs vinyl posters, and recently contracted to design a display for a fast-food tie-in with Marvel Comics' animated film, X-Men, which is scheduled for release this spring.

Owning Ultimate Line-Up allows Moses to spend as much time with his hobby as he likes and still make a profitable living, a claim few business owners can make.

Ultimate Line-Up, P.O. Box 11585, Pleasanton, CA 94588; 510-290-0168.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Author:Newsome, Melba
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2000
Words:496
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