The digital age has caused a boom in the sports trading card market and cards have become more accessible through online sales and pack breaks, where packs of cards are opened in live online broadcasts. A recent report estimates the U.S. market will reach $2.88 billion by 2028, compared to $1.19 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 13.3% during 2022-2028 and some companies are taking the digital experience to new levels.
eBay joins others in the NFT business, launching 13 limited-edition collectibles featuring a 3-D animated rendering of Wayne Gretzky on the ice. Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise, acquired Topps trading cards earlier this year and is poised to further transform sports memorabilia with its NFT business unit, Candy Digital. This digital transformation has created new ways to enjoy this age-old hobbyist pastime.
But, at JRI Cards, we don’t want to lose sight of tradition with advancements in technology. We make collecting fun and entertaining by providing the experience of watching historic, rare cards pulled online, then shipping the cards to their new owners. With a surge in the industry and parents passing down this time-honored hobby, there is plenty of room for enthusiasts of all levels, and all platforms, to buy, trade, explore, seek and find those valuable gems and most sought-after sports idols but there’s something behind the power of collecting physical cards that’s unmatched by the latest technology.
Cardboard collectibles are rooted in history
Each trading card owned by a fan tells a story, represents a memory, and opens a door for opportunities to connect with others. These time capsules can instantly transport you back to where you were during a historic game or when you purchased your first pack.
I’ve seen the strength of a bond created when fathers can reconnect with their children through the joys of this hobby. I’ve been told stories about parents reliving old memories of their favorite athletes as cards are passed down to their children. I’ve also witnessed first-hand how trading cards have brought communities together in a shared interest, where friendships are built and fostered through a common thread of passion.
Owning sports cards is a favorite pastime equal to the pageantry of the games and players they showcase and dates back more than 150 years, shortly after baseball became a professional sport in 1860. It wasn’t until the early 1930s that biographies were printed on the back, giving fans their first insight into a player’s personality and professional background, and fueling the passion for trading up for a person’s favorite player.
Fast forward to 1952, Topps set the standard for the modern baseball card featuring player biographies, records and statistics, ushering in a legacy of collecting that continues today. Cards of this era are notoriously difficult to come by, especially those in pristine condition, which is why we’re so passionate about helping others uncover these gems.
Traditional baseball cards will always have a place in popular culture and with collectors and hobbyists because of their storied history, the fact that you can physically hold them and pass them through generations of families, and the nostalgic feelings collecting creates.
Building an unparalleled community
The appeal of collecting is the sense of community because you’re all bonding over a shared experience. Our show’s uniqueness has brought people back to the hobby and even created new collectors.
Social media’s an integral part of our business model, helping us establish our brand and keeping us top-of-mind. We keep our fans and followers up to date on what’s going on in the industry, so they know they can get info from us if they don’t have time to read the news themselves. By keeping our community constantly updated, if they need a break from the hobby, we know one day they’ll see something that reignites their interest and brings them back.
Our JRI community is extremely important because they’re the reason we launched this business and continue to be successful. Social media is where people have tuned in to watch our live streams from day one. Fans are a big part of the show, as they engage with one another in the chat and congratulate each other on great pulls. Many have their nicknames, which I’ll call out in the show. The camaraderie just wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t all excited to see what pieces of history would come out of the packs. They’re truly a part of our family.
In the digital transformation of a popular pastime hobby, JRI Cards has zigged where others have zagged. There’s room for all different types in the collecting world, but it’s our honor and privilege to share our passion for cards with our community and bring nostalgic moments into homes across the country, helping collectors and those who just love a good show create memories for years to come.