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Sports Card Market Trends in 2022
- Market Value: The United States Sports Trading Card Market was valued at USD 4,707.21 Million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 62,063.80 Million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 28.76% from 2020 to 2027 – www.prnewswire.com
- Collectibles and NFT Market Size Forecast to reach $1 Trillion by 2032 (sectors include Digital Art, Sports NFT, Trading Cards)
- The sports card industry: Has been trending upward since 2015 and reached its peak in 2021
- The industry went from 10,000 card shops in the 1990s to maybe 1,000 in 2012
- Sports cards began to pick up steam in 2015 and saw a massive breakout in 2019, peaking in 2020-21
- Industry drivers: include Digital Integration of Sports Trading Card Games, and eBay Emerged as the Largest Online Platform for Selling Sports Trading Card.
- Sales: Topps reported a record-breaking $567 million in sales for 2021
- Pokemon Cards and eBay: eBay sees a record 142% domestic trading card growth; Pokémon tops the list as a most popular category
The United States Sports Trading Card Market was valued at USD 4,707.21 Million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 62,063.80 Million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 28.76% from 2020 to 2027.
Fractional ownership is becoming a thing as it allows a group of people to invest in one card. For example, ten people can own a 1 million dollar Mickey Mantle rookie card by investing $100,000 each. Collectable.com, once an aggregator for sports auction information, now touts itself as “The #1 Fractional Investing Platform for Sport”.
A slight market correction is in vogue currently, but industry experts predict sports cards are now here to stay as an alternative investment.
Topps, perhaps the most iconic card maker, was bought by licensed sports apparel and merchandise giant Fanatics for $500 million in January – The Athletic.
The most vulnerable cards during this correction are ultra-modern and high-risk offerings such as rookies or younger players (i.e., Ja Morant RPA Auto RC), while older HOF cards tend to hold up much better in down times (i.e., T206 Ty Cobb).
Sports Card Market Statistics
- Sports card market value: The Sports Trading Cards market was estimated at USD 12,927.3 million in 2021 and is forecast to reach a market value of USD 49,373.2 million by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 13 %. – marketdecipher
- When looking at the three most recent stock market declines, the S&P 500 fell by an average of nearly 17 percent, but sports cards saw an overall positive return
- Card products can sell from $1 a pack to $50,000 in boxes
- The National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlanta, GA, drew more than 100,000 hobbyists in 2021
- Industry auction leader Goldin Auctions did 335 million dollars in sales in 2021 and are trending to blow that number away in 2022
- eBay did 2 billion dollars in trading card sales in 2020 and moved more than 4 million cards
- Topps’ recently merged with Mudrick Capital Acquisition II, which included a 2.5 million dollar investment
- Topps has eyes on the nonfungible tokens, or NFT, space and will be investing heavily in the coming years
Trading Card Market: Key Players
The “ United States Sports Trading Card Market” study report will provide valuable insight with an emphasis on the US market, including some of the major players such as Futera, Leaf Trading cards, Panini SPA, Topps Company, Tristar Productions, Upper Deck Company, and Others. – www.researchandmarkets.com
Most Expensive Sports Market Cards
- Golf: 2001 Tiger Woods signed rookie sold for $369,000
- Baseball: Honus Wagner T206
- Basketball: Luka Doncic RC
- Hockey: 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card sold for $1.29 million
- Football: 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes Autographed Rookie Card #161 1/1, which sold for a mind-blowing $4,300,000
Luka Doncic’s rookie card sold for a record-breaking 4.6 million dollars in the Spring of 2021, making it the most expensive basketball card ever sold. The original owner claims he bought the Luka rookie card for $400,000.
A Mickey Mantle rookie card is expected to sell for more than $10 million this month, breaking a record for the most expensive card ever sold. – Forbes
The 1952 Topps Mantle RC is slabbed with an SGC 9.5 grade which is crazy good for such an old card. It is known as the “finest known example” of the 1952 card in existence, according to Heritage Auctions, which will sell on 8/27/2022.
The Mantle rookie card was last sold in 1991 by Anthony Giordano for a mind-blowing $50,000; talk about an excellent ROI.
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card is the most expensive one ever sold ($6.6 million in August 2021).
The most expensive sports memorabilia title is Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey. This jersey sold for 9.2 million dollars in the Spring of 2022.
Pokemon cards have emerged as a significant player in the trading card hobby, with the Illustrator Pikachu Pokemon card selling for 5.275 Million dollars and a sealed First Edition Pokemon Box for 3.5 Million dollars.
The COVID-19 pandemic helped drive Pokemon card sales as kids who grew up with Pokemon (their 20s to mid-30s) had more in-house time and nothing to spend their money on.
Most valuable Pokemon cards: 1999 First Edition or rare promo cards.
Logan Paul and Pokemon: Social media influencer-turned-boxer Logan Paul also helped drive Pokemon cards purchasing the most expensive Pokemon card for $5,275,000 (he is turning it into an NFT). Before paying 5.2 million, he attempted to purchase the same card, but it ended up fake. Logan Paul has, without a doubt, helped the industry through his influence.
On average, eBay sells 139 trading cards per minute and lists more than 20 million cards in 2021. eBay reported that the category had seen 142% growth from 2019 to 2020.
eBay says trading cards of all kinds “are seeing significant growth,” but their data indicates the biggest gains have come from Pokémon (+1,046%) and Marvel (+764%) cards. – Sports Collectors Daily
To view trading cards on eBay, please visit ebay.com/tradingcards and buy.
- Digital collectibles have been an industry driver since 2018, and NBA Top Shot has emerged as a marker leader in the niche.
- A 60% growth in sports NFT is expected by the end of this year. The demand has led to the evolution of specialized sports NFT marketplaces.
NBA Top Shot is your chance to own, sell, and trade official digital collectibles of the NBA and WNBA’s most incredible plays and players. They signed up more than 800,000 users since beta and grew nearly $500 million in sales.
“I think we’re just scratching the surface on the potential for blockchain to transform the digital collectibles industry completely.” – NBA Commish Adam Silver.
Topps is “well situated with a universally recognized brand to capitalize on the fast-emerging market for collectible NFTs” – Murdick Captial.
Recent Developments in the Sports Card NFT Market
- June 2022, Hasbro teamed up with the NBA and NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) to launch a sports collectibles brand.
- July 2022, Reddit Launches Collectible Avatar NFT Marketplace
- In July 2022, Upper Deck announced that it had signed elite skateboarding and surfing superstar Sky Brown to a multi-year memorabilia deal.
- July 2022, NextName is now offering fans the opportunity to purchase the “name, image, likeness” (NIL) of a team and individual player through the sale of their digital collectibles, also known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Sports Card Industry Predictions
- Moderate to High long-term growth with up and downs similar to the SP 500
- Nontraditional cards, such as Pokemon cards, will be the most popular in short to moderate term
- The future growth of professional sports will skyrocket with the help of legalizing sports gambling which will also help the sports card hobby
- Lower grades will become more popular as it is the only way to personally own a HOF older card/player that would sell for a fortune at a PSA 10 grade but much less at PSA 2 (Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer PSA 1 Rookie, which saw prices up to $1,600 in November, are currently selling in the $4,000 range)
- Graded video games will explode in popularity and value as games like the original Mario, Mike Tyson Punch Out, and Zelda for Nintendo should see good to significant growth in terms of ROI (A sealed copy of the iconic Nintendo game Super Mario Bros. sold for $660,000, shattering the record for the highest amount ever paid for a video game)
- Luka Doncic and Justin Herbert will be the next GOATS in their respective leagues, and we suggest investing in both player’s rookie cards (Luka Doncic Prizm RC and Justin Herbert Prizm RC)
Five Forces in the Sports Card Market: namely buyers’ bargaining power, suppliers’ bargaining power, the threat of new entrants, the threat of substitutes, and the degree of competition in the Global United States Sports Trading Card Market.
Sports Trading Cards Market Companies
- Upper Deck Co.
- Leaf Trading Cards
10 Most Popular Baseball Card Sets on eBay
- 2022 Topps
- 2022 Topps Heritage
- 2021 Topps
- 2021 Topps Chrome
- 2020 Topps
- 1987 Topps
- 1988 Topps
- 1989 Topps
- 1990 Topps
- 1989 Upper Deck (Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card)
15 Most Sold Football Card Sets on eBay
- 1989 Pro Set
- 1990 Pro Set
- 1991 Pro Set
- 1991 Upper Deck
- 1990 Score
- 1991 pacific
- 2021 Panini Mosaic
- 2021 Panini Playbook
- 2021 Panini Score
- 2021 Panini Prizm DP
- 2020 Panini Prizm
- 2020 Panini Mosaic
- Hot Football Cards
- 1984 Topps
- 1986 Topps
Top 10 Hockey Card Sets Sold on eBay
- 1990 Pro Set
- 1991 Pro Set
- 1990 Score
- 1990 Upper Deck
- 1991 Upper Deck
- 2021 Upper Deck
- 2020 Upper Deck
- 2021 O-Pee-Chee
- 1990 O-Pee-Chee Premier
- 1992 O-Pee-Chee
Top Soccer Card Hobby Boxes
- 2021 Panini Donruss
- 2020 Panini Immaculate
- 2021 EURO 2020
- 1994 UD World Cup
- 1990 Pro Set
Most Popular Basketball Card Hobby Boxes on eBay
- 2020 NBA Panini Prizm Blaster Box
- 1988 Fleer Basketball Hobby Box
- 1992 Topps NBA Basketball Stadium Club Series 2
- 2009 Upper Deck Hobby Box (Steph Curry Rookie Card)
- 2021 NBA Prizm Hobby Box
The trading card/sports memorabilia/sports card industry is highly healthy based on the trends and stats discussed in this article. We feel sports cards have a solid long-term outlook and make an excellent alternative investment to stocks and ETFs.
We suggest allocating 5% of your investment portfolio to trading cards. We like older HOF-type players/cards when investing in the long term and younger players/modern cards when investing in the short to medium term.
In terms of percentages, we recommend putting 80% in HOF/older cards, such as a T206 Ty Cobb Polar Bear back, and 20% in the more modern cards, such as a Justin Herbert RPA rookie card. Older cards carry less risk and moderate returns. At the same time, modern cards carry more risk but higher returns.
How do you feel about sports cards as an alternative investment and the overall health of their hobby?