Bolstered by a sparkling new facility and a better-than-ever Friday night turnout, the 2007 SportsFest entry welcomed collectors and dealers to a new home in Schaumburg, Ill., this past weekend.
A combination of a pristine convention center, free parking and a elegant hotel left most attendees raving about the move that sent the seventh edition of the Chicago show to a new location at the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg. “We were delighted with the smooth transition to a new facility for SportsFest and buoyed by almost universal praise for the hotel and convention center,” said Jeff Pozorski, sports group publisher for F+W Publications, which owns the show.
“The venue is phenomenal, and I think there is a lot of future potential at this site,” said J.P. Cohen of Memory Lane, a sentiment reinforced by Mitch Adelstein, president of Mounted Memories, which brought in an autograph lineup that featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Montana and Reggie Bush on Saturday. “I heard nothing but positive things from the dealers,” Adelstein said.
After a Friday evening crowd that exceeded last year’s numbers, the Saturday session was highlighted by the special “What’s It Worth?,” program that prompted nearly 100 collectors to have their items evaluated by F+W Publications experts.
At the same time, Upper Deck was navigating a busy scene at its corporate booth with its popular redemption program. “It was a success; it’s always good to come to SportsFest and reconnect with our consumer base, and as the only card manufacturer here, it was also an opportunity to get a good sense of what’s going on in the hobby,” said Don Williams, Upper Deck’s public relations manager.
Notes: Brian Schwartz of Schwartz Sports in nearby Northbrook, Ill., announced that his company had purchased the rights to run the two Chicago Sun-Times shows in March and November at the convention center in Rosemont, Ill.
Veteran show promoter George Johnson of SportsNews Productions said he will continue to be involved in the long-running show as director of operations. “Nothing’s going to change, it’s going to get better,” Johnson added.