The National Sports Collectors Convention is traditionally dominated by vintage cards and memorabilia, but the new-card manufacturers have made great inroads in recent years in establishing a bona fide presence for much of their splashy material fresh off the presses.
At Cleveland this year, that meant impressive lines at the Press Pass, Panini America and Upper Deck booths, along with the always popular Topps VIP cards that made their way through the show floor despite the card maker’s physical absence from the show.
For Panini, it was a chance to showcase a new entrant in the traditional card field, and the company did it up right with its promotional cards, wrapper redemptions and special autograph guests.
“It was an overwhelming success for us,” said Scott Prusha, Panini’s marketing and public relations director, who served similar posts with Donurss. “We’ve seen more more product busted for the wrapper redemption than we have in years. The lines for the Spin the Wheel were long all week, just as they were for the autograph guests, among them Blake Griffin and Tyler Hansbrough. It was a great show from everything we heard from collectors.”
Across the way, things were bustling for Upper Deck as well. “We’ve been very encouraged with the good foot traffic,” said Chris Carlin, UD’s director of sports marketing. “We’ve been talking with vendors and there’s been good activity in the new products. The wrapper redemption sold out very quickly, and it’s been a very hopeful week.”