Fox News Report on Card Trading

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Trader Rich

5.00 star(s)
Aug 22, 2005
Fox News did an interesting report on sports card trading. I missed part of it. My wife called me out to see it.
They ended the report by saying the hobby is fading out and nobody will still be collecting in 20 years.

Funny how some people (that do not do their homework) think that card collecting is a fad like TY Beanie Babies, slap bracelets, and friendship bracelets.

Sports card collecting has been around for over 120 years. It has withstood 2 World Wars and the Great Depression. As long as there are sports, there will be fans wanting souviners of their favorite player. LONG LIVE COLLECTING.

I'll be collecting however long I live. Hopefully the next 30 years at least seeing as I'm 14.
as long as there is baseball and little boys in 20 years...there will be baseball cards and little boys buying them....and their dads buying the high end
Now I am going to have to watch Fox News :rolleyes: , just to see the story.

I don't know about anyone else, but I plan on giving my grandkids 100 years worth of sets. Now, whether it is Topps, UD, DLP, Dunkin Donuts, or Burger King, is up to the jokers running the card companies. Either way, I plan on collecting for a long time.

And, I am taking a box of 05 Absolute Update with me when I go! :p
I like Fox news, but I think this report is BS. They probably talked with hobby "insiders" and obviously did not seek out "the Bench" ;). I actually read a report from the wal-street journal about a year ago about how the hobby will thrive as long as sports are popular.
Collecting will always be around, but I believe that it will continue to go downhill like it has for the last several years. Each year there are fewer and fewer people collecting. Things need to change to make it a hobby for everyone again. Products keep costing more and more, and cards are holding their value less and less. Something will have to give eventually.
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.”
Comparing the top of the market to the bottom of the market probably isn't fair. If you compare card collecting now to what it was in the 1970s, things are looking up.

I don't doubt the market is in some level of decline. There are a lot more things competing for people's time now than there once was. I am sure that contributes to the decline of a lot of things. On the other hand, there are a lot of hobbies enthusiasts would be be giddy if their hobby had $200 million in sales in a given year.

How can you honestly compare the 90s to now and say sales are down and consider that surprising. Yes, of course they are down. The 90s probably represented the best the market will ever see as investors and speculators drove everything up until they realized it wasn't such a great investment.

Compare the sales numbers from before the 90s. If we have plunged below sales figures from the 80s, then we may be in trouble. I suspect things have continued to creep up from the otherwise regular levels, 90s boom numbers aside.

However, we have certainly seen a shift from a fun hobby to something that requires a fair amount of disposable income to really enjoy the advances. Sure, you can get cheap cards still, but they don't have the same punch that 1987 Topps did when you couldn't pull an autograph, game used jersey, insert or 1/1. Before, you were thrilled to pull "The Thrill" base card. Now if it isn't numbered to 25 or less, autographed or similar it's a bad day.

I suspect I will still collect cards for another 20+ years (as I get older, it's harder to say things like that with the same certainty I did as a 20 YO), or at least have passed them along to someone who does.
I think the 1994 strike was the final blow to the card market at the time...a lot of people and collectors gave baseball the middle finger at the time and that's about the time the hobby took a nose dive.