The Business of Sports Cards

For over a year now, Gary Veynerchuk has been claiming that sports cards values will explode. In this article, I take a look at what is driving the price surges.

Last month, a 2003-04 LeBron James Upper Deck rookie Patch Parallel card sold at auction for $1.845 million. The price tag on the rare card set a record for modern-day cards (recognized as cards produced in 1980 or later). It is the most any basketball card has ever sold for.

Valuations such as these highlight why interest is extremely high within the sports card industry. There is also good reason to believe that it will continue to increase.

- Firstly, there is an increasing number of platforms with which to trade the sports cards. Social media is increasingly able to facilitate commercial exchanges. Instagram, in particular, has become a ‘shop window’ for sports card collectors. E-commerce platforms are also getting involved. In October, Detroit-based StockX, a clothing and sneaker marketplace, introduced a vertical to buy, sell, and trade sports cards.

- Secondly, sports cards can prime consumers for sports betting – a market that is growing at a tremendous rate in America. Jared Bleznick, co-founder of Blez Sports Cards, said in an interview with Forbes, “You never know what’s going to be inside a pack… You hear stories all the time about a guy randomly coming in and spending $100 and then all of a sudden he gets a card worth $50,000.”

- Lastly, valuations of the sports cards are driven by pop culture. For instance, The Last Dance and everyone involved in that series, saw their card values go up. This means that investors with their finger on the pulse could stand to make huge profit from their insight.

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