Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Card Concepts That Add 'Value' To Cards Attracts New Collectors

Sports Cards in general seem pretty hot these days. 2010 Baseball has slumped since Stephen Strasburg went down - but Jason Heyward, Starlin Castro, even Buster Posey and the Team USA Signatures in sets like 2010 Bowman Chrome and 2010 Topps Chrome should keep those sets alive. Football is doing well as usual - and as usual - it rides on the back of the NFL Rookies, which as of now seem pretty strong. So far there really hasn't been a 'stand-out' product, but its early. Basketball had its 1st year of Panini in 09/10 - and they look to be listening to collectors demands for more on card autographs. Planned sets 10/11 Panini Prestige, 10/11 Panini Limited and 10/11 Threads will have plenty to chose from.

But honestly, not too much of that will bring in 'new' collectors into buying on a regular basis. Aside from special talents like Strasburg, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Ken Griffey Jr. and many others - its tough to get people interested in collecting unless its the 'rip & flip' make a bunch of money type mentality. Maybe those talents come around often enough to make it profitable for the card companies to do business with the current demand, and not necessarily grow the collector base much.

Aside from a collector liking a player/team and/or hoping that card goes up in value - what other incentive is there to attract new collectors into the market?

We have seen some attempts by the card companies, usually aimed at kids, to add something extra to owning the card. When I was growing up, Upper Deck 'You Crash The Game" Insert Cards were something I remember collecting. Basically from what I recall, you got a card of a particular player - and on the back was a corresponding game where he had to achieve a certain stat objective in the game. If that player achieved the goal - you could send that card in for a special set that was later mailed to you. For example, I recall having a Dan Marino and he had to throw 4 or more touchdowns in a game. This was pre-internet and I remember having to check the newspaper on Monday following the game to see if he threw 4 touchdowns (he did). Again, this was pre-internet, where it would have been easy for me to check Dan Marino's stats anytime I wanted to - but the fact is, the card made me check the guys stats to see if I had won. This type of card pre-dates Fantasy Football, which obviously has become popular and I think UD's You Crash The Game was slightly ahead of its time.

Recent examples of adding value to cards beyond the typical means include the popular Topps Attax Baseball & Football Sets along with Panini Adrenalyn XL Football & Basketball. Here for the most part you are gathering cards with codes on them - that allow you to play online. The cards have 'value' over and above the eBay price - because you can play & win with them over and over. Collectors actually pay pretty good money for non-autographed & non-jersey Ultimate or Rare Cards (essentially 'base cards' to most collectors) because of the cards high rating and ability to win matches.

Who knows if these kids will be interested in buying 2010 SP Authentic Football - but they are buying 2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL Football for sure - and its possibly because the cards have value outside selling it online or at a card store. Open an Adrenalyn XL booster box - then go whoop butt online and achieve a top rank almost sounds more exciting than busting a box and hoping I get a Tim Tebow or Sam Bradford autograph so I can 'get my money back' from the break.

Adding value to cards doesn't always mean that we need to throw a signature or jersey piece on it - or even make it #1/1 or serial numbered. I also think that a players performance could do more than make a card sell for more on eBay. Maybe companies would exchange cards (for either top performing or poor performing players) for something else or give you a 'special set' if you send in the 'regular set'.

I'm not sure on the details, however I do know that it might help bring new collectors into the market if we can show them there is value to collecting cards outside selling them on eBay when the guy gets hot.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Podcast #61 - Set Building & 2010 Topps Football

This week on the podcast we poll some of our Fan Forum members and ask them if they collect sets of cards anymore? I was curious because seems to me its expensive and time consuming.

However after reading through the posts it actually seems like something collectors are doing quite frequently these days. One way to get around hand collating the set yourself is to purchase factory sets or sets online that typically sell for a fraction of the price. You can't always get insert & memorabilia type card sets this way - but it does help get you started.

If you don't like the new sets on the market for a given month or two - (or even a couple of seasons) - you might not collect much at all, so Team Sets, SP or Mini Cards, Parallel Cards all give set builders an option to try something new. Its an endless amount of things you can go after, making it more appealing on a month-to-month basis while collecting. You can always start and stop a new set, which makes it perfect for the type of people that get bored with one thing easily.

One downside to collecting sets of cards is that you end up with a large collection that will take up a decent amount of space. Our forum members also pointed out that its easier to get cards damaged when having that many cards - plus the price of supplies goes up too!

Personally, I'm too lazy to get online and purchase cards on a daily basis - so I couldn't last trying to put together a set practically one card at a time. That being said, if there was a local card shop that put out base cards and things like that - I would go through them and pick out players I want.

I think set collectors have evolved with the times as it would be expensive to do a 'master set' of a product and its almost impossible with #1/1 and other low print run cards. You are forced to narrow the focus and sometimes avoid sets altogether because the cost and/or time would be too great. Single cards have certainly become more available online compared to even 10 years ago - so that helps the people that go after rare and expensive items.

I hope card companies continue to try and attract collectors that build sets of cards - and develop products for them in mind. They are like the guy that goes into the car part store everyday searching for just the right part he needs for his classic car...he's their best customer. Set collectors in a way are the hobbies best customer and I hope to see the tradition of set building continue to evolve and be passed down over the years.

The Sports Card Show Podcast

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Holiday Weekend of Free Box Breaks at Sports Card Radio

We celebrate the 3 day weekend in style with a couple of 2010 Football Free Group Box Breaks.

2010 Topps Football Hobby Box was the 1st box we tried - with some decent luck, including Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and a black parallel. About 30 members got 1 pack each, and about 6 lucky members got 2 packs each. You can see the videos below.

By request - on Monday - Annie will be busting her 2nd box ever - for 11 Fan Forum Members who each get a pack of 2010 Score Football.Get involved in our next round of free box breaks (we even cover shipping) http://www.sportscardradio.com/forum