Will the sports collectibles market have another good year?

Matt Levin Jan 5, 2022
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A man sells vintage baseball cards outside Yankee Stadium. The trading card industry is marketing to millennials now. Chris McGrath via Getty Images

Will the sports collectibles market have another good year?

Matt Levin Jan 5, 2022
Heard on:
A man sells vintage baseball cards outside Yankee Stadium. The trading card industry is marketing to millennials now. Chris McGrath via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The online sports merchandise company Fanatics announced Tuesday that it will buy Topps, the longtime manufacturer of those baseball cards still lying around in attics somewhere.

Stimulus checks and pandemic-induced boredom pushed the secondary trading card market to grow 170% last year, per the card trading platform Alt. Just how long can that last?

Ted Barker is senior sales executive at Beckett Media — it’s like the Kelley Blue Book for trading cards.

“The collector used to be a guy more my age,” said Barker, 67. He’s no longer the industry’s target demographic. Manufacturers are marketing to younger consumers.

“Millennials with their hats on backward and their backpacks full of cards and money,” he said.

Barker’s bullish about 2022, but said inflation could mean less disposable income going to trading cards. Plus, the baseball lockout could hurt.

Nicole Colombo, president of Alt, said she’s not concerned. And neither is Silicon Valley.

“There’s been a lot of startups in the space, a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the space, and I expect there’s going to be a lot more,” she said.

Colombo points to more innovation — think more trading card nonfungible tokens and tracking card sales on the blockchain.

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