Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And a child shall lead them

This article, like others I've posted here, points out something that I fear might keep the current sports card resurgence from being a long term phenomenon.

Baseball cards top draw at national collector's convention

The National seems to "get it" in terms of ways to get kids in the door, but once they hit a couple of dealers and realize that neither they nor their parents can afford 90% of the merchandise there, THEN what are you gonna do to lure 'em in, let alone keep 'em coming back? 

The hobby owes quite a bit to Stephen Strasburg, and a greatly reduced amount of product in the hands of a few companies should, theoretically, prevent saturation in the marketplace like we saw in the 90' least in the short term.  Think back, however, to how old you were when you began collecting.  I dare say anyone reading this, including myself, became collectors as a kid.  I don't think we'll see a new halcyon period until the card companies figure out a way to bring the kids back, and to do that you're going to have to dramatically lower price points on certain products or create a "budget line" making sets easy, and affordable, to build. 

I have a 3 year old and 1 year old niece that are at my house the better part of the day five days a week.  As a result, I speak fluent Nick Jr., Disney Channel, Toon Disney, and PBS Sprout.  Obviously you wouldn't see this on PBS Sprout, but I have yet to see a Topps Attax ad on any of those channels.  Wouldn't you at least try to put a little bit of marketing muscle behind something that could ultimately lead to another boom cycle?  Was this discussed at all at the Topps panel at the National?  If anyone was there, let us know. 

I'm optimistic about the future of the hobby, but grown ups will only take this train to a certain point.  I could say something really corny and Whitney Houston-ish here like "I believe the children are our future", but I'll refrain :-) 

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