Hobby Musings: Predicting Hobby Impact of Super Bowl LI – Next Sunday, a large part of the country will be watching the Super Bowl between the Falcons and Patriots. While sharp eyes will be kept on the game, and the commercials, there will also be interest from the hobby community. How will the game’s outcome impact card values of the players involved? For some more insight on this, I had the chance to catch up with Sports Collectors Daily founder and editor Rich Mueller. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: The Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is likely the biggest star in the Super Bowl and the name most well-known among collectors and fans alike. Where would you say he ranks overall in the hobby world among current NFL players?
RM: There always seems to be an uptick in interest for Brady once the Patriots reach the Super Bowl and this year is no different. If you look at our list of current most watched football cards on eBay, his rookie cards from 2000 dominate the list.
Certainly there are rival fans, who for any number of reasons don’t care for him but there’s no arguing with the fact that career stats and team success are two of the primary driving forces for any player’s cards and there really isn’t any active player who can match him. There is a lot of interest in this year’s crop of rookies but with Peyton Manning retired and Aaron Rodgers not likely to add another MVP, Brady has got to be at the top.
KS: There is no doubt that Brady is already so well-regarded. If he can win another Super Bowl, what do you think that would do for his memorabilia market?
RM: People sometimes struggle to remember the name of the Finals MVPs in other sports but the Super Bowl is a one game, winner-take-all event and being the MVP can push a player’s name recognition to new heights. The more he wins, the bigger icon he becomes. I think a Super Bowl win would mean another significant jump for all of his cards, especially the rookies and it’s entirely possible he could add to that legacy before he finally retires.
KS: Looking at his counterpart on the Falcons, Matt Ryan, how has his impressive season affected his standing in the hobby?
RM: We wrote about an increased interest in Ryan’s cards after the NFC Championship game. Some of them have doubled or more since last season, which wasn’t a good one for him. He’s probably going to be the season MVP which is always a positive for a player’s long-term appeal. It helps that he has one of the game’s top receivers on his side. It’s interesting that most of his on-card autographs from his rookie season are in Upper Deck products. They were still an NFL licensee during his rookie year.
RM: A Super Bowl win would do a lot for his name recognition among casual or non-sports fans so demand would likely go up. The only thing is that it’s taken him awhile to get here so unless the Falcons put together a multi-year run of big successes and he can really grow his numbers, I’m not sure he’ll go down as one of the true greats at the position.
KS: Looking beyond the two quarterbacks, who’s the one player you think could stand to gain the most in the hobby with an impressive performance in the Super Bowl?
RM: It’s been a pretty crazy ride for Dion Lewis and a breakout game in the Super Bowl would make him a huge story. A defensive player doesn’t often win the award but doing so did wonders for Von Miller last season. They actually do set odds for MVP and Vic Beasley is the top defensive choice at 25-1. If he can make it two defenders in a row, he’ll be pretty big on collectors’ radar.
KS: There’s also Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Not known as the easiest autograph to obtain, how much of a market and demand do you see for his collectibles?
RM: It’s a shame you don’t see coaches featured much on cards anymore. I don’t understand it. Love him or not, the guy who might go down as the most successful head coach in history should have more than just a few cards, whether autographed or not. You can own his Pro Set “rookie cards” from the early 1990s for next to nothing and even though they’re very common, I think they’re worth having. He’s such a polarizing figure, though, that outside of New England, I’m not sure how much interest in his memorabilia there will be long term.
KS: It’s no secret that Super Bowl memorabilia can be a lucrative market. We just saw a recent sale of an unused Super Bowl III ticket for slightly over $59,000. Among the other major sports championships, how do you think Super Bowl memorabilia stacks up?
RM: It’s a bit hard to compare because the Super Bowl doesn’t have the history that the World Series does and it’s a single-game event which is why a 1970 Super Bowl program is worth more than a World Series or NBA Finals program from the same year. There are just fewer in the market. Early World Series tickets and programs are very valuable and so are those from historic games but the interest in high quality, graded Super Bowl tickets is really strong right now.
KS: Among the various types of Super Bowl memorabilia out there, what do you think tends to get the biggest demand from collectors?
RM: Tickets and programs are far and away number one among average collectors from what I see but game-used Super Bowl memorabilia and authentic Super Bowl rings are more coveted than anything else. Those items really see strong prices, especially pieces from years ago. Any type of one-of-a-kind item from the Super Bowl is very valuable. Some of the early pennants are popular, too. The LA Coliseum wasn’t sold out for Super Bowl I and with a largely neutral audience in the stands, it seems like not that many were sold.