Hobby Outposts from the North: Virtual Industry Summit Preview – As 2020 nears its conclusion, collectors north of the border are gearing up for a tradition that has been going strong for decades – the Sport Card Expo.
Once known as the Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo, the event has been re-branded for a new era, as the Covid-19 pandemic has changed things up and sent the event virtual. This is now the second virtual edition of the event, with the first happening this past spring.
That event, as Expo Owner/President Steve Menzie reports, still saw half of registrants coming from Canada, but the vast majority of the remainder of the population coming from the U.S. along with some international delegates.
Getting the platform ready for that first show was quite the accomplishment, given there more of a rush with Covid restrictions coming early in the year, leaving Menzie just a couple months to change gear. “I pretty quickly did a deep dive into what virtuals could and could not do,” he said. “The technology isn’t new, it’s just new to the hobby and it’s more often associated with B2B conferences and consumer-based shows.”
The search for his platform had a key component in mind “My primary focus was to have something that would work for my dealers,” he said. “It wasn’t about having virtual content or networking – though that was a component of it – it was about having a platform that would still let dealers buy and sell.”
The result of Menzie’s focus was an incredibly successful event and this one looks to be the same. One of the main areas Menzie has focused on is expanding the Expo’s centrality from hockey to reflect the greater expanse of the hobby. “It’s widely regarded as the biggest hockey show around, but there’s quite a bit growing around other sports and non-sports,” Menzie said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to continue to push and grow.”
This has meant bringing in some guests outside the rink. Yes, hockey’s legends are still a big part of the event (the upcoming Expo features Bobby Hull, Mike Bossy, Bernie Parent and Gerry Cheevres), but also from baseball as legendary Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs slugger Andre Dawson is featured as well.
The industry has responded favorably as well. Upper Deck, who traditionally would setup at the show and offer up exclusive redemption product, has chipped in this year with specially-produced cards of Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield, available by purchasing a VIP ticket. General admission tickets are also available free of charge.
To learn more about the Sport Card Expo and register, visit http://www.sportcardexpo.com.
Hobby Outposts from the North: Sport Card Expo preview
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