I'm thinking most of this is Keith Howers fault. I could be wrong, but here is the new brand manager via LinkedIn:
October 2012 – Present (4 months)
Plan and execute 22 brand releases per year while maintaining a set production budget.
Monitor tasks from conception, through production, to final brand release.
React and adjust to obstacles within the given budget, and ensure all deadlines and partner/legal obligations met.
Continuously improve brands to deliver new content, while protecting the integrity and familiarity of each individual brand.
Well, it seems like he surely cut the budget quite a bit.... Also the new content has pretty much been garbage, and he threw integrity & familiarity out of the window... Not only stealing countless ideas (and logos) from UD and other brands, but completely changed the Contenders product by no longer having Rookie Ticket Autos.
Really sad. Me thinks this guy has absolutely no idea what hes doing.
Personally I will just wait for National Treausres to come out, and pray to god nothing has changed from previous years.