As many sports card and memorabilia collectors and dealers feared, the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention is on hold as the state of Illinois continues to slowly recover from the pandemic.
The National, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is scheduled for July 28-Aug. 1 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont just outside of Chicago.
The National officials announced on Monday, however, that it is at the mercy of Illinois public health officials and will make a decision around June 1 on whether it can proceed with the event. It is looking at possibly postponing the nation's largest collector's show until October.
“We are at the mercy of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which has published metrics describing when large conventions may be held in the state,” NSCC promoters wrote Monday. “We know that attendees and exhibitors are waiting to make arrangements for travel and hotels for the National. Based upon this we will continue to follow the IDPH guidelines and make a decision on the July dates on or around June 1, 2021.
“Should the National be postponed we are currently looking at October dates as a backup. Exhibitors and attendees will have the choice of rolling over booth deposits/ticket revenue to the postponed show or may request a refund.”
Due to the number of COVID cases, Illinois is still in Stage 3 of its planned five-stage reopening plan. The state would need to advance to Stage 5 before large gatherings like conventions would be able to return.
While fans have been allowed to return to major league baseball stadiums in limited capacities this year, the Cubs and White Sox are currently allowed fewer than 9,000 fans, two of the lowest figures in Major League Baseball.
One big Chicago sports collectors event has already been canceled this year. The Chicago Sports Spectacular, which had planned to hold its show in June at the same venue in Rosemount, canceled its plans last month.
The National was held in Rosemont in 2019, attracting more than 60,000 attendees, the largest crowd since 1991. Last year’s show was scheduled to be held in Atlantic City, which will now host the 2022 event.