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OYO Sports & how it compares to LEGO?

by admin on February 26, 2015

in Other Large Brands

As a LEGO fan you may have run into an interesting brand called OYO Sports. While I have never seen their products at major toy-stores, they do sell them through their own website as well as at various sporting events in the United States and Canada. OYO Sports is known for their fully licensed and authentic looking Baseball, Hockey and Football players in minifigure form. Although our focus here is mainly LEGO, I thought to review this brand because a lot of LEGO fans (especially those who are also sports fans) have shown interest in them. So let’s take a look at how OYO Sports compares to LEGO, and if it is worth for LEGO fans to give them a try. 🙂

OYO Sports Review

According to the OYO Sports website: It all started at the ballparkall. Shortly after building an elaborate starship from a popular building-block brand, a Tom Skripps (later OYO Sports founder and president) took his son to Fenway Park to take in a Red Sox game. Taking in the sights and sounds of the park, a true New England rite of passage, the duo would begin exploring the confines of the park in search of toys. As their searches went without results, an idea was born: creating minifigures of athletes that kids could play baseball with. Developing figures with rotating forearms, bending knees, and complete with the equipment of a true ballplayer – a ball, bat, and glove – the dynamics of the project were born. After many late nights of extensive patent work and distribution strategies, OYO obtained licenses with Major League Baseball and the MLB Player’s Association as its first professional sport. But an OYO goes beyond a figure capable of poses previously impossible for building-block minifigures. Their durable yet flexible build makes the figures capable of being handled as actual toys for kids and not just souvenirs meant to be kept in boxes, but also makes them a tremendous collectable for avid fans. The minifigures are great for the young baseball fan that wants a figure of their favorite pro. The same can be said for an avid fan of collecting in need of something to put on the mantle of his man-cave or room dedicated to a certain team. The OYO packaging was intricately designed to be able to fit in a kid’s pocket while looking like both a toy and 3-D baseball card. Following many colors, concepts, and logos, the final OYO package was complete and the rest is history in the making!

OYO Sports Football

My first thought when reading the above was that this is such a great idea that LEGO really missed out on. Sports fans love to buy and display memorabilia of their favorite teams. And both adult and children like to have toy-versions of their favorite players. LEGO used to carry a sports line between 1998 and 2007 featuring basketball, hockey and soccer players. The soccer and hockey sets were very generic, and I believe this is the reason they may have not caught on that well. With the basketball related sets LEGO started to get it right; they included minifig versions of real players from real teams with collector cards, while also retaining playability. (If you have never tried the spring-legged LEGO basketball players, I highly recommend you do. They are really fun to play with, and they are in fact pretty good at getting the ball into the hoop!)

OYO Sports New York Toy Fair

Going back to OYO Sports, they have been doing tremendous amount of work on their marketing. If you are a LEGO fan (and you don’t have an adblock app turned on) you will see their adds following you everywhere. They also have large fan-groups on social-media sites. And they participated in the recent New York Toy Fair with a very impressive display. They feature players from a huge number of both major and minor league teams, and they also have full kits with playing-fields, accessories, etc.

OYO Sports Details

OYO Sports Minifigs

The packaging of OYO Sports products are really well thought out; like mentioned above, they are like 3-D sports cards with high quality printing and details on each of the players. The minifig and their accessories are in a little plastic box that also looks very good. Some of the sets also come with extra accessories and even little brick-built vehicles that you would find on sports-fields. My understanding is that the packaging of the kits are made in the USA, while the building elements and the minifigs are made in China.

OYO Sports Field

The minifigs themselves have plusses and minuses. Let’s start with the plusses. The OYO Sports minifigs are the same height as LEGO minifigs. The printing on the torsos and the helmets/caps are nice. They make an effort to have accurate facial features for the real-life players, and they are also done tastefully – in other words, the faces look very cute. The heads and helmets/caps are interchangeable with LEGO minifigs. And the various accessories can also be used by LEGO minifigs. The quality of the parts is good; everything fits together nicely, the color consistency is also good, and the flesh-toned heads are nice.

OYO Sports Football Minifigs

OYO Sports Minifigs Details

OYO Sports Football Players

Now let’s talk about the bad. I do understand what this company is trying to achieve here; retain the look and feel of the cute blocky minifigs we are all so familiar with, but give them more articulation. The cuteness and the blocky-ness is fine. However the articulation turned out really bad. The legs have an awkwardly placed joint that is neither an ankle nor a knee, but somewhere in between. And the feet are way too small, making the entire leg-assembly even more strange looking. At the back of the legs there are two stud-holes, similar to what you find on LEGO minifigs, but they can’t attach to anything – so the minifig can’t securely sit on a studded surface.

OYO vs. LEGO

The torso-assembly is, sadly, the worst part of the OYO Sports minifigs. The torso itself is fine, and have a similar shape and style as LEGO minifigs torsos. The printing is also very nice on both the front and back of the torsos, and on at least some of the minifigs the arms are also printed. But the arms! Oh, dear! Those arms! They are just very-very bad. Each arm is made of three parts; the upper arm, the elbow, and the lower arm/hand. They are attached by pins going into holes, but they don’t clip in securely (like a LEGO minifig hand would clip into the arm), making both the elbow section and the lower arm section constantly fall off. Posing these minifigures, especially with accessories, is a real test of patience as the arms continually fall apart. Also, the whole arm-assembly is way too long, almost touching down to the feet of the minifig – kind of making it look like a gorilla. 🙁

OYO Sports Hockey Minifigure

OYO Sports & LEGO Minifigs

Fortunately the torso has very similar size arm-holes as LEGO minifigs, so you can just take out those awful contraptions and replace them with LEGO minifig arms. They fit a little tight, but not too bad. I should also add here that the torso and the legs can also be exchanged with LEGO minifig parts. I guess you could also glue together the parts of the original OYO Sports arms, but then of course they loose the whole point of them being poseable. On the pictures above you can see the hockey player I got, and my hybrid LEGO and OYO Sports version with mostly OYO parts and regular LEGO arms, hands and legs. I like it much better this way.

In summary, I would say that OYO Sports is very likely here to stay. They are filling a niche that LEGO left open for grabs, and they are doing it well. They are also making a good effort on offering nice looking collectables. I don’t agree with how the arms and legs are designed, but other than that the minifigs and accessories are good quality. And their real asset is the printing on the torsos and helmets/caps. The facial printings are also very nice. If you are a hockey, baseball or football fan, you may want to check out their products. They really have some gorgeously printed team logos on both the torsos and helmets. OYO Sports sets are fully licensed memorabilia and they are not cheap. Their smallest sets with just one sports-figure, collector-card and other accessories runs for $13. You can get them directly from the OYO Sports website, and you can also find them on eBay – sometimes a bit cheaper. Here are some recent listings: OYO SPORTS ON EBAY

I hope this review helps in giving you an idea about OYO Sports and their products. What do you think? Have you ever run into OYO Sports sets? Or do you have some already? Are you collecting them? What is your own opinion of them? Feel free to share your own thoughts and review in the comment section below! 😉

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

hippyman February 26, 2015 at 11:57 AM

I was given one of the OYO football sets, about a year ago. I’m not a football fan, so I was kind of let down. Then I found the hockey sets. Is there any chance they will start to expand into the soccer market?

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admin February 26, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Good question! I would say that since their main market is the USA, and soccer is not very big here, my guess would be no. It may be worth contacting them though to ask.

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Håkan February 26, 2015 at 1:17 PM

And no basketball, either? That’s pretty big in Europe, afaik.

Those articulated legs look quite good in theory, though. The posing for the batter (or pitcher or whatchmacallit) looks rather successful.

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Håkan February 26, 2015 at 9:00 PM

And I think the minifig should be able to sit with only minor redesigns. The studholes on the upper leg could be attached to studs, the thinner lower leg could “rest” above the studs, and the feet attached as a plate between studs. The last connection is illegal, but it should pass.

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admin February 26, 2015 at 9:03 PM

They should have really hired some LEGO fans to check out their final designs and get some feedback. They are so close to being real winners.

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admin February 26, 2015 at 9:11 PM

Now that I think about it, this would also have been a good idea for marketing and reaching out to the LEGO fan community – like how LEGO customizers do. This creates an instant buzz for the product and wins over a lot of people because they feel like they have been part of the project.

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cindy stauffer July 14, 2015 at 11:07 AM

soccer is HUGE with young boys these days! i’ll be emailing them!

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Al August 7, 2015 at 9:49 AM
LegoUniverse Bob February 26, 2015 at 12:34 PM

These look nice. I would attempt to get one if I lived in America, but I don’t think I would really be interested in the American sports anyway (other than Baseball, I seem to have played something like it at school).

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David February 26, 2015 at 1:55 PM

I’ve actually started seeing these show up in my local Target’s toy aisle in Philadelphia. The set up there is just like the collectors series minifigs, randomized opaque bags containing a single figure. I’d be tempted if there weren’t minifigs to collect right next to them on the shelf…

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admin February 26, 2015 at 3:35 PM

Hm… that’s interesting. I wasn’t aware that they had small single packs like that too. Did you note how much they were?

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David Tennant Lover February 26, 2015 at 3:04 PM

Wow, that’s a coincidence! I just bought a baseball player from Target yesterday and it was this brand! Then this post came up! Anyway, the product was great, the packages were weak for some. When I bought it, some of the packages were searched through and open. I didn’t know if I were getting all the pieces! Luckily I found one last Baseball player and it was not open. Good product, I didn’t test if it worked on other Legos yet, but these were cool!
I’m not a sports fan, but this was really cool. Again, some packaging was poor, but I still recommend this to Lego and Sport fans!

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admin February 26, 2015 at 3:37 PM

David, that’s funny that we both though about OYO at the same time! Maybe they are using some secret mind-control techniques on LEGO fans! 😈

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Coz February 26, 2015 at 4:33 PM

I have a phillie Phannatic one:)

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Nrg Cole February 26, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Sounds cool. Btw admin, you spelled hockey in the first paragraph as hokey. :mrgreen:

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admin February 26, 2015 at 4:46 PM

LOL! Stupid spell-checker! 😛

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Mike February 26, 2015 at 7:22 PM

I have a few on my desk at work, and got a few more for a home office I’m setting up. Flyers, Phillies and Eagles, and I’m hoping they add MLS teams so I can add a Union fig to each. Not a lot of accessory potential there though, and they’d have to add hairstyles.

I feel like they handcuffed themselves a bit with lego minifig height. The weird legs would work better with a third “calf” piece, so they would articulate ankle, knee, and hip. It would make them an extra stud taller, and help the arms not feel so out of scale.

The hockey goalies are a letdown, with gloves, pads, and cage falling off way too easily. The plastic just isn’t good enough to hold them together.

From what i’ve seen of their recent products, I’m actually more disappointed that MegaBloks didn’t go for this. Their Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed minifigs have good articulation, and would be good for sports figures

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admin February 26, 2015 at 8:42 PM

Mike, so many good points. I actually would even forgive them for the legs (as from certain angles they do look good and they are well-attached/work well), if the arms weren’t so horrible. I’m surprised that their Hockey goalies didn’t turn out better as they are one of their latest releases. And yeah, both LEGO and MegaBloks missed out on this opportunity.

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Kim February 26, 2015 at 8:18 PM

It’s tempting to get some football ones for the helmets, same with hockey.

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admin February 26, 2015 at 8:43 PM

Yep, that’s their main strength; those gloriously printed helmets and jerseys. 🙂

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admin March 3, 2015 at 9:22 AM

UPDATE: I got the following email from Daryl McKay, an OYO Sports sales representatite, with some interesting details and further information about their product line:

“Thank you for your review of our line. We appreciate the candor, as a start up, we are always looking to improve. We also appreciate the kind words as well. Please know that we are a passionate group working hard to create an excellent experience for fans – fans of sports and fans of brick building.When we fall short we work very hard with customers, through customer service, to make it right. We are in a mode of continuous review of all that we do to make sure we continue to build play value and consumer value into our products.

To answer a few questions; Yes, we are launching soccer this month. For MLS (Major League Soccer), 2015 is the year of the fan, or as they are known in the soccer world, supporters. So our first product will be a Fan (or Supporters) Mystery Pack. Three randomly designed fans for a team, all in the supporter gear you see in the stands of a game for that team. We are making all 20 teams for the MLS. We will follow that release with a player collection of Limited Edition minifigures, our Generation 1 MLS soccer stars of the MLS.

All of our products are designed, printed, assembled, packaged and shipped here in Acton, Massachusetts. Our minifigures are assembled from parts made in the USA and China, which also makes us unique. We offer our Limited Edition minifigures in specialty retail sports and toy stores, as well as our website. These are made in small batches, and we offer a large selection of players – among the largest assortment of players made for any licensee in professional sports. We like to say “We are your favorite player” because we have a deep roster of players that can appeal to the fan of the whole team, or to the fan of the underdog, in addition to the major stars. At the end of each season, or event, we retire the Generation of that sport. As an example we retired MLB Generation 3 in December, and are launching into stores MLB Generation 4 now, in time for Spring Training. New players and jerseys and a highlight of most teams that have either, in addition to a unique look to the face and the packaging. For NFL, Generation 2 will retire in April, and Generation 3 will arrive in time for NFL Training Camps.

We offer our national retail partners a great product – our Minifigure Mystery Pack -that allows fans of a team to get a variety of players while keeping the sku selection less deep. Fans know they will get a star from that team or league, but every day “can be like Christmas” as they seek their favorite minifigures. We appreciate your interest. Please let me know if we can be of any assistance.”

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Judy James November 11, 2015 at 2:02 PM

I was like some others who commented — You have PURDUE? And NOT INDIANA UNIVERSITY == AND NO BASKETBALL? As we head into the Christmas Season AND BASKETBALL SEASON (on all the Major TV NETWORKS), both COLLEGE & NBA Fans will surely be disappointed — Your little figures are Genius & SURELY can be adapted to BASKETBALL! And, you forget the Women’s Sports? (Gymnastics, and almost all major Men’s Sports, also have WOMEN’S counterparts — Soccer, Softball, Basketball, etc.). I am sure you are just starting out, BUT to cut out a whole MARKET? Wish you would explain WHY?

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admin November 11, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Judy, those are good suggestions. You may want to contact OYO directly to get a response to your questions. This is a review of their products. We have no affiliation with the company. 😉

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GraalPK January 10, 2016 at 1:58 PM

OYO IS JUST A COPYCAT OF LEGO! LEGO IS BETTER!

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Amanda November 29, 2016 at 8:22 PM

just wondering if legos would attach to the board or do lego people attach to the sports fields??

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admin November 29, 2016 at 8:53 PM

Amanda, yes they do! OYO uses the same size and shape bricks with the same kind of studs. 🙂

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Paolo planas December 10, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Ya oyo do basketball
Plus we would want to see like coaches and managers
Also European soccer will have a huge market if you want to expand
Across the borders and countries, sure the us has a market but
Europe is bigger with a lot of small nations jam packed in buying your
Products also the wrestling entertainment has been a huge deal in
Produce so I would want to see
Wwe nba fifa

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