Hobby Musings: Inside Topps’ Creation of International Trading Card Day – National Baseball Card Day has been one of Topps’ biggest promotions of the year. For 2022, the company decided to make a big change and go international. Now including subjects from soccer and Garbage Pail Kids, the promotion will also expand outside the United States. To find out more about the move, I had the chance to catch up with Topps’ social media coordinator Jon Matros.
KS: Jon, National Baseball Card Day becomes International Trading Card Day. What was the big reason for the switch to that?
JM: We’re super excited to get not just our US fans, but our UK and Japanese fans involved in the holiday as well. Both of those international areas have been growing audiences for us. Given that the UK market loves soccer products, and there are soccer cards included in the checklist, it made sense to include them in the promotion.
KS: How would you say the international market has expanded for trading cards over the past five years?
JM: It’s expanded exponentially, especially with the rise in the baseball trading card industry for Shoehi Ohtani. He has a huge following in Japan, and the people there love him. So now they’re wanting to collect Topps cards of him.
KS: What’s an area for cards that we’re not looking at so much right now, but you could see within a year or two being an international growth market for Topps trading cards?
JM: I’m excited that we’re going to eventually be getting the NBA and NFL licenses back. I think once we get those back, they will help us grow those industries even bigger.
KS: Having the ability to get back into some of those licenses with Fanatics for the first time in years, what do you think that’s going to mean for Topps brands as a whole?
JM: We’re going to really be expanding all of our brands. A lot of fans might think think that we’re going to focus more attention on football and basketball and take attention away from baseball, but that’s not going to be the case at all. We’re really looking to expand in all directions with all these different sports and properties. That means new products and new inserts. We’re going to try to make every product, even if it’s the same as last year, better by changing it up with lots of different things.
KS: You have companies like Dave and Adam’s Card World and PSA that are opening locations internationally now. Could you see more companies doing the same?
JM: I definitely think international expansion is where the industry is going. That’s why we wanted to expand National Baseball Card Day to International Trading Card Day. Getting those other areas involved is important to us.
KS: Baseball over the last couple of years has had a lot of turnover with its young talent coming in. Top players like Mike Trout have been injured a lot. As we stand today, who is the biggest collectible player in baseball?
JM: That’s a great question. I have two answers. Coming into this year, Wander Franco was huge and is massive in the hobby right now. The other one is Julio Rodriguez, in terms of a young guy. After what he did at the Home Run Derby, people are looking at him. At the National, people were looking for his cards the entire show.
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