Here is part of the report from the Fox blog.
Notice the quote at the end about collecting in twenty years is from a collector, not someone at Fox.
The Baseball Card Industry is in a Serious Slump
by Claudia Cowan
Industry experts say card sales have dropped 80% from over a billion dollars in the early 90’s to about $200-million dollars last year. The trend has caused most card makers to shut down, and where there were once 5-thousand card shops in the u-s, today there are fewer than 500. I spoke to industry insiders, retailers, distributors, and collectors to try to figure out what is causing the slide, and lots of factors play into it. Traditional collectors got into the hobby for love of the game, then, over the years, came those who saw it purely as an investment which drove up demand and prices. Half a dozen card companies produced huge quantities – which people bought up as a kind of gamble. But for most, it didn’t pay off. The weak economy, player strikes, and the steroid scandal have all driven down interest and value. A Barry Bonds card once worth 50 or 60 dollars is barely worth $15 now.
On top of that, industry analysts say the future looks bleak because of competition from other card-based games. My son bypasses the sports cards and heads directly for the “magic” and “Pokemon” cards. If he’s interested in knowing more about the giants or a’s or a particular player’s stats – he goes online.
It’s not that the card makers, like tops and upper deck, aren’t trying. We saw some very interesting boxes that hearken back to the days of the old tobacco baseball trading cards, using today’s players on nostalgic backdrops. A box cost about a hundred dollars, which the store manager says isn’t a bad price – problem is, he said, the companies aren’t marketing their product well enough to let people know it’s out there. Others debate that point, saying in a shrinking market, mainstream marketing dollars are increasingly hard to come by.
The good news is – collectors are still out there – just not as many, and they’re not buying as often. We met a young man who began collecting cards with his father, and now specializes in “relic” cards that may feature a players autograph, jersey swatch, or chip of bat they’d used in a game. But there are more sellers than buyers these days, and the store, filled floor to ceiling with dusty trading cards and comic books, was mostly empty. As one collector told me, “I think we’re going to see the cards fade away. I hate to say that, but 20 years from now, people may not know what a baseball card is.”