Sports Card Industry: Why It Continues to Thrive Amidst the New Technology

Just like other commodity-driven market sectors, the sports cards market has also experienced the highs and lows of the business.

This market started around the late 1980’s with the massive opening of 30-40 card shops around Detroit. Even across the US, several places also started to create their own sport card shops in the1900s. Throughout the years, this industry continued to strive. Then with the boom in plastic card printers, the industry took off. However, as soon as the global recession of the early 2000s hit, the card industry slowly dwindled down.

Out of the many sports card shops in the country, only two are left. These two sports cards shops are Grand Slam Sports Shop and Rochester Sports Cards and Memorabilia. This two shops openly shared what it was like in the past and how they were able to survive in this industry despite the technological changes.

Grand Slam started around in 1989 when sports card was in the midst of its popularity. The card shop often deals with new and vintage cards of various sports like basketball, hockey, football, and baseball. While Rochester Sports Cards started in 2014 but has managed to continue with a wide selection of cards and products. They also offer hosting events. Both of these stores have a great number of walk-in customers as well as good online sales. These two factors were the reason why they were able to survive the declining industry.

Their shops continue to thrive because there are still die-hard card collectors who are willing to spend their money collecting the new and vintage cards. They continue to collect these cards and with the addition of the cards of rookies like Shohei Ohtani of baseball and Connor McDavid of hockey, fans will continue to complete their growing collections.

Aside from that, sports card manufacturers no longer mass produce cards but rather they print a limited number of cards packed with several features like autographs, snatches of the jersey and the baseball glove. They also insert several special features, which can make these cards be resold for higher prices. Because of this, only a handful of these sports card shops were able to survive the bust of the industry.


Overproduction was another reason why the card industry declined. At the same time the rise of other recreations like Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering, video games, and the internet had taken the interest of many people.

Millions of sports cards were put to waste as technology continues to grow over time. Physical shops continued to dwindle down as the rise of online shops prospered throughout the years. Some of the shops were able to make ends meet with the innovation of the internet.

Sports cards may seem to be earning millions but it no longer sells the same way it used to. They just have enough to keep them afloat.


Card shops have several strategies for why they continue to survive. Some of the shops do not just sell sports card but they also sell other cards like The Pokémon,  Magic: The Gathering, and Star Wars Cards Collectible.

Another strategy that they also use is to sell only high-profile sports collectible cards which can be really expensive. These cards can sell up to more than a thousand dollars each. Most card shops which are selling only high-profile sports cards survive because of this method.

An Expensive Hobby

The sports cards industry continues to thrive because there are still some people who are willing to pay for such cards. Many card collectors aim to collect all of the sets of these cards. It can be a lucrative investment, especially if you plan to collect the vintage sports card which you can resell for more than what it was originally worth.

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