I know you’ve seen the posts on social media, because I’ve seen them. Things like…
Don’t forget to get your X disc at 1pm EST Today!
Don’t miss your chance to get one of these limited discs, drops at 11:00 CST!
There’s a limited amount of X available. Drop is at 4:45 MT!
If you’ve tuned in to the disc golf world in the last year it’s felt like disc drops are a constant thing. If you haven’t seen them, well drops are when a certain disc becomes available. It’s usually a signature disc, a new mold, or a special commemorative stamp.
You fill out your information ahead of time on a website for quicker checkout (if you’re smart). You’ve set an alarm to make sure you’re at your computer refreshing at the exact moment so you don’t miss out. And yet some people still miss out.
Maybe the manufacturer has 10,000 of that disc available, maybe they have 1,000. Sometimes you’re lucky and you get what you’re looking for. I managed to get an Iron Samurai II and a Meta Tilt this year by being at my computer at the right time. But I set an alarm and I don’t work until the afternoon most days. Those were two discs I was pretty excited about so I’m glad I got them.
I want to be clear in this blog that I’m not picking on Discmania. I love the company, throw their discs, and recommend their plastic to lots of people. In fact I love them so much I bought two of their disc drops. Innova has timed releases on their store for signature discs, Discraft has done this in the past as well. In fact you could say Sabattus Disc Golf does a timed release, we have a newsletter that drops every Friday morning, and we’ve usually got a limited quantity of discs that go live right then.
Some people have gone without the highly sought after discs, or purchased from resellers on Ebay/Amazon/Facebook for significantly higher prices. When I started writing this blog, 3 hours after the Tilt drop. I purchased my disc for $36.07 (with shipping) from Discmania directly. I saw that there were already listings on Ebay for 75-100 dollars. It’s calmed down out there with a reprint and the discs are selling for in the 50-75 dollar range but that was July 27th and it’s November now. But let’s be honest, that’s still a lot for a disc. Especially when it’s a utility disc.
How did midnight releases of goods start?
I think that on July 8th 2000, midnight releases became popular. It all started with “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number, 4 Privet drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
If you’re unfamiliar with that quote it’s from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A book that would launch the Potter series to sell over half a BILLION copies.
The 4th book in the series, The Goblet of Fire was the first to be released at midnight. The party at my local bookstore was incredible (RIP Bookland). It had snakes, butterbeer, people dressed up in homemade robes, costumes, and a countdown of the 10 seconds before midnight that rivaled the enthusiasm of the entire world counting down the last seconds of 2020.
At the stroke of midnight we all lined up in several lines at the registers and got our books. Bookland (my favorite local bookstore RIP) had enough copies for everyone. You’d buy your copy then or show your preorder and then go home to read/fall asleep.
It’s not quite like that with disc golf. Although it would be awesome if there were enough physical stores for people and they could get the discs at midnight and have a glow tournament on a course. Where 3 new molds are released in a glow plastic and you all just play right away. But that’s probably never going to happen.
Other midnight releases
Video games took over when the last Harry Potter book was published July 21st, 2007 (yeah you feel old now don’t you?) Gamestop took to releasing other games from the Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and Call of Duty series. It wasn’t Pottermania levels, but it was solid. Eventually these have dwindled because you can now get a copy of the game sent to you electronically instead of physically. Since the end of video games doing this it’s now Black Friday sales that happen at midnight. Now we’re onto disc golf discs getting released.
How are disc golf releases different?
Now with the internet in almost every house and readily available on our phones things are different. My Tilt comes in a box to my house in probably 3-5 days and it’s not like I don’t know what it does.
I’m not going to find out that my Tilt dies in chapter 27. I won’t lose out on day 1 multiplayer XP or midnight release exclusive skins for my Tilt.
The other thing that makes disc drops so different is the total lack of available plastic. There wasn’t a paper shortage during the Potter days, or a CD shortage for the video game releases.
Who does the drops?
Innova pro shop, Discmania store, Discraft Store, Ledgestone, plenty of other retailers. It’s pretty standard in the disc golf world to promote when you have a new mold or new stamp and when it’s available for purchase.
Will disc golf drops ever end?
No. Right now they’re out of necessity because there is so little plastic. One thing that I heard from regulars this year in our shop was “man you guys are empty.” It stinks, I’d love to have more of every disc for folks. But that’s the world we live in right now, and one growing pain in disc golf is just not enough plastic.
Companies limit the releases and it helps generate hype, which leads to an increase in price, and the price of plastic is going to increase over the next few years. It’s honestly been amazing that you could buy some stock stamp plastic for 7.49 back in the day and keep it for a decade. It’s not like drops are for (usually) stock stamps, so you’ll still be able to get the regular version at a decent price. But drops are here to stay.
Physical stores that do drops follow the rules set out by the company that sent them the discs. So for example there were days when Ledgestone 2021 discs were released at a certain time even though we had them a week before. When we get Discmania discs we sit on them until the moment they’re allowed to go on sale.
I like that they’re available to everyone at the same time in multiple places. I think that helps with stopping the people who are going to try to buy all of a certain disc and hoard them.
Is there anything that should be changed about them?
I’m a big fan of limiting the number of purchases per person in each drop. I sometimes wish that you could buy two of a disc since I almost always buy two of every disc. But I get it, limiting people to one disc will ensure that more people are happy.
The advertising is sometimes a bit much for me. Maybe it’s because I see so much disc golf media directed at me through my work and through my personal page as well. It feels like I get told about a disc drop 8 times when probably twice was enough.
There’s no universal way to stop resellers driving up the price.
People will always list the new discs on Ebay, waffle sites, and collector groups for a BIN that’s much higher than what they paid. Once it’s sold I don’t really care what someone does with their disc. I appreciate the collectors out there who want to just look at a rainbow stamp Sexton Firebird, and I appreciate the people who want to throw that disc. It’s cool either way to me. I don’t purchase discs at crazy prices even if I want them, because I hope that the market will eventually stop discs going for more than 100 bucks. The 36 dollar disc was probably the most I’ve ever paid for a disc before. I felt it was worth it to get something new and that people weren’t throwing but seemed to be collecting.
Drops make sense. I like that they support pros by building hype around discs. If you read my blog when the pandemic started about why we should purchase a tour series disc you’ll know that it’s a great way to directly support pros. A quick update on that blog though, Paul McBeth did sign a big ole 10 year 10 million dollar contract like 4 months after I wrote that. As far as I know he’s still the only one making that kind of money. I’m super pumped about that and hope other pros get big paydays as well. Supporting players with Tour Series discs is still awesome in my book.
Timed drops offer the most people a chance to get a disc that they want. And you’ll never satisfy everyone, unfortunately unless companies made hundreds of thousands of custom stamped discs. Then they’d be stuck with lots of product, so it wouldn’t make any sense for them.
Are you a fan of disc drops? Do you hate them with a fiery passion of a thousand suns? As always let me know in the comments.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397