Beautiful weather and a chaotic atmosphere that few cities could produce contributed to the smashing success of the NBA's 14th annual Jam Session, which concluded Feb. 19 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Attendance for the five-day event hasn't been announced at this point.
"Both Jam Session and the card show were a huge success," said Ken Seitel, NBA senior manager of trading cards and memorabilia. "Trading card sales were really strong and both Topps and Upper Deck both really embraced this year's all-star weekend by having Las Vegas-themed wrapper redemption programs."
Crowds were enormous whether you were in the Jam Session or anywhere on the strip or in the vicinity and there was very little letup regardless of the time of day. The card and collectibles area proved to be a great introduction to the hobby for many new collectors, with dealers displaying a wide variety of items ranging from high-ticket original artwork to figurines, singles and packs.
"Everything is going great," said Clay Luraschi, spokesman for Topps, the title sponsor for the card show. "This is a great city to have the event. We are getting a lot of new faces that don't traditionally collect cards and we're exposing them to our brands. That's the most important thing about this type of a show. We brought in Dwyane Wade to our booth to play Pack Wars on Saturday. He's the brightest star in the NBA and our exclusive guy so to bring him in to the booth at Jam Session was huge."
Topps and Upper Deck were both very pleased with the attendance and overall event. Both distributed two cards per day through wrapper redemption programs. The Topps set was numbered to 999 and included a card and poker chip, with a player lineup of Wade, Adam Morrison, Randy Foye, Andrea Bargnani, J.J. Redick and five others, while the Upper Deck set was styled after playing cards and included Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Brandon Roy and five others.
"The city of Las Vegas has been a tremendous host city," said Don Williams. "We've had long lines at our booth, the redemption program was highly successful once again. It's a great venue with great crowds. It was a tremendous success for us from a marketing and business standpoint to meet new collectors and get their feedback on upcoming brands."
"The show went really well and we were really pleased with the turnout," said Mike Caffey of Tennessee-based Wholesale Card Co. "The NBA did a great job with this show. People came in to a high-energy atmosphere and everyone was positive. We had good sales to go along with it."
"It's been a great show and we networked with a lot of people here," said Victor Moreno of American Memorabilia. "We got a really nice Dan Marino game-used college jersey, a Roger Maris single-signed baseball, a Tiger Woods single-signed baseball, which is very rare, and a bunch more leads. This is a nice venue here."
"The show was lots of fun," said Irv Scales of Scales Enterprises. "Collectors from everywhere are here and there are smiles on everyone's faces. I think everyone enjoyed this experience."
"We've had a great reception with a big crowd and a whole range of crowd," said Dana Alan Yarger of Art of the Stars. "People enjoyed themselves immensely. We know what we had to offer is a little different to many people, but it's been an awakening to many people with the high quality artwork in among all the other great collectibles."