Klein’s Korner: The Hobby’s Continuing Expansion
This column we will discuss two aspects of the hobby. The first is the National Sports Card Convention announced their locations for the next five years. I was very pleased to see Chicago in the every other year rotation and Cleveland coming back in 2022. The Chicago show is traditionally excellent because this is a central location. There are tons of hotel rooms within walking distance and the area has a well-established collector base. All of those helps to make Chicago a really solid area. I think we saw this year with Cleveland on the every four year rotation just how good that event could be. For now, Atlantic City is a good location for people in the megalopolis to drive to said event.
But there is a downside to all this. We’re not able to move the National to many other locations. Along with the dealer booths already being sold out for 2019 does give some warning signs for the hobby. The first is the odds of getting a booth in 2019 is probably less than a high school senior who wishes to attend Harvard. For the past few years, Harvard has averaged around a five percent admit rate. I suspect the dealers trying to get a booth for 2019 would be pretty similar. Some people might think it’s hard to grow the hobby if we don’t come up with a way to install new blood every year.
I have heard rumblings of a big event being planned for DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) in 2020. If that works it would go well with the final mini-Nationals run by the fine people at Tri-Star led by Jeff, Bobby and Mandy, Jimmy Ryan and Joe Drelich. All of those promoters and several whose names I have not mentioned are doing a good job of running big but not National shows. I think there may be a future for those shows to continue growing.
I don’t have any great answers but I hope we can expand the National a bit. The show can be a little bit bigger and see the big regional shows continue to grow as well.
The other aspect to touch upon is the growth of card stores. Now some of this growth is based on card companies asking breakers to have a store front to sell their goods. Others are people who really want to open a store but that combination might mean we may actually reverse the drop in number of stores which have continued for nearly 30 years. In 1991, we figured there were about 30,000 stores. Today I suspect there might be a couple of thousand stores. I can count on six or seven stores within an hour of where I live which is more than the four or five we guessed only a couple of years ago. There is an excitement of new stores opening and we all hope everyone does well.
And may they not get too many “Junk-Wax” collections coming in the door.
For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.
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