It now looks highly likely that the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention will be held as planned July 28-Aug. 1. 

The National, the biggest card and collectors show in the nation, was postponed and then canceled last year due to the pandemic and there were concerns that it might be postponed for a second straight year as Illinois lagged behind other states with its COVID recovery plan. 

Illinois is making progress, however, in reopening the state's businesses and sports and entertainment venues. 

The National posted a statement on its website Tuesday indicating that it fully expects to hold the convention as scheduled. 

"Full opening metrics in Illinois are continuing to improve and it appears that Governor Pritzker will announce on June 11 that the state has entered Phase 5 of their Reopening Plan (barring any setbacks in the recovery)," the statement reads. "Phase 5 indicates all events in Illinois can take place without capacity restrictions. We are looking forward to holding the National as scheduled and seeing everyone at the 41st National July 28-August 1, 2021 at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Chicago."

With the sports collectible industry enjoying one of the biggest boom eras in the history of the hobby, the National is expected to attract one of the biggest crowds in the 41-year history of the event.