Two weeks removed from the first official day of the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC), I've had time to reflect on the crazy experience. A few words come to mind; overwhelming, hot, and pure chaos. Somehow each National continues to get better and bigger than the one year before. My experience since the first one I attended in 2021 is vastly different. The first NSCC show I attended was 100% focused on the sports cards. Buying, trading, selling, trade nights, etc. My collection leveled up massively in those four days. Now, while building a presence and a brand, it’s more about the people and connections, while trying to find a healthy balance of also sharing some love to my PC.
I’m going to share my thoughts, experiences, and highlights of the 2023 NSCC. Each person brings a different perspective and has different experiences. As I’m sharing mine, I’d also love to hear from you all that attended and followed along on social media!
Arena Club is an all-in-one marketplace that offers grading and a showcase for collectors to show off some of their favorite pieces. One of their founders is baseball legend Derek Jeter. Arena Club brought Jeter to his first ever NSCC show, and created an experience that many collectors won’t forget.
I was fortunate enough to be a media ambassador for the NSCC, and got to capture Jeter riding around on a golf cart through the show. Seeing the excitement brought to collectors and dealers' faces was incredible. While the golf cart was riding around, responses echoed of “Did you see who was on that golf cart?” and “Was that Derek Jeter?” A genuine buzz was created.
Arena Club did a great job of creating an immersive experience, allowing everyone at their booth to take a picture with Jeter within the opening half hour of the show. For sports enthusiast, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Similar to the show itself, the corporate section continues to get bigger and better each year. More companies were present this year, and companies that were present in the year's past, one upped themselves. Ebay had a large display promoting their Ebay Vault program and a soundproof studio for live breaking, which brought Dan Marino, Dennis Rodman, Rickey Henderson, and some other notable sports figures. Fanatics had a main stage of their own, hosting some pretty epic breaks with founder Michael Rubin and Allen Iverson. Vee Friends was massive, with lines most of the show to meet GaryVee and get their hands on the new wave of Vee Friends.
The official trade night of the NSCC, hosted by Cardcollector2 and Roadshow Cards, continues to level up and is always a can’t miss festivity. Seeing collectors from all over the world, piling into a room to trade sports cards, will never not be insane. Over the years, changes have had to be made with the venue to hold everyone, and yet, there were still more trades going on outside the venue.
Women in the Hobby
A booth that started last year, Women in the Hobby, is a place of sharing stories and experiences, while also showing representation for all female collectors. This year, I saw far more females in attendance than the last two years, which makes for an exciting future. Thanks to help from Topps, Parkside, Athletes Unlimited, Tristar, and Leaf, WITH was able to curate a week full of memories! I had the pleasure of spending my time there when I wasn’t running around, so here to share all the can’t miss moments.
Angel Reese Giveaway - Thanks Leaf and Tristar WITH was able to host a meet and greet giveaway with LSU women’s basketball player and reigning champion Angel Reese. Reese is using her platform for representation which made it the perfect partner for WITH. Along with the giveaway, Leaf made an exclusive Reese WITH card limited to 400, that was given away at the booth throughout the week.
Athletes Unlimited Softball Game/Topps Tradenight - Athletes Unlimited, Topps, and Women in the Hobby partnered together to host what I call, an evening of fun. Kicking off their 2023 season Athletes Unlimited Softball hosted the event, with Topps making a trade zone for collectors to add to their collection, photo stands to “Become a Card”, and gave away some Athletes Unlimited packs. Also… yours truly threw out the first pitch. Don’t worry, it was a strike.
Happy Hour - Hosted by Ebay and Card Ladder, a panel of female collectors were put together to talk about their collecting journeys, answer questions, and show support for other collectors. Incredible and progressive conversations were had, and all of those who spoke did a phenomenal job.
One of the main conversations surrounded how to make females feel more comfortable in shops and sharing themselves with the hobby. Responses came sharing that female faces need to be present and treat them as you would any other collector. My name got brought up as the bridge to the next generation of collectors, and I couldn’t be more honored to pass the torch. I constantly remind myself that I create each post/article so younger Kayla can see herself represented.
Kids Pack Wars - Stephanie Garcia (mamabreaks) and I hosted a free kids pack war breaking 2023 Topps Big League. It is becoming one of my favorite parts of the show, as I get to help bring joy to the next generation of hobbyists. We did some fun categories of best facial hair, longest socks, shortest player, longest last name, etc. What was my favorite? Stephanie and I came up with “Player with the closest birthdate to our birthday” mine being August 18th, and to my astonishment I found out I share a birthday with Seiya Suzuki as a kid pulled his card. Captured a picture with that collector, the card, and me pointing to the birthday.
NWSL Signing - Thanks to Parkside and the NWSL PA, we were able to host Chicago Red Stars rookies, Ally Schlegel and Penelope Hocking. There was no break in the action as collectors lined up to receive their autographs for free, on exclusive Parkside cards. All ages, male and female, brought tremendous support!
The craziest moment (Luckily captured on camera) involved Hocking pulling her own 1/1, out of one random pack from a possible three-thousand. Completely by chance, I picked a pack on the top of the stack, because her base card was on the top and I thought it would be cool to have her open a pack with her card on the cover. Still can’t believe it!