Looking back over the last few weeks, things have gotten quite a bit out of hand. Its been one thing after the other, some good and some bad. Being that so many people have their ears perked up around collecting thanks to national attention, it breeds a great atmosphere and buzz heading into the NSCC this week in Chicago. Here are five things I am going to be talking about as I think about how to enjoy the show.
1. How will Panini deal with all the negative attention brought by the Dak Prescott scandal?
The timing could not be better for collectors to get an opportunity to interact with Panini on a large scale. Although I doubt anyone on the floor is going to offer anything outside of what has already been communicated, I think this is a unique opportunity for collectors to share their thoughts. There are only a few times over the course of the year where Panini wont be able to mute a tweet or just not respond, and this is one of those times. Will their show sales be impacted by the news? Probably not much, to be honest. That doesnt mean they wont face a number of people who want to say their piece and hear what the reps are going to be saying on the floor.
Events like the VIP party will also be at the forefront of this discussion, as its likely that the people at this party have seen the way that Panini handled the scandal, and the lack of communication that resulted. It was a terrible face for the hobby to wear, and it was handled extremely poorly by their team. Being that the people at this party will be the top customers Panini has, its not going to be rainbows and butterflies in that way. Regardless if the NFL/NFLPA dictated the process by which the scandal was communicated, its clear things went completely sideways. Someone has to answer, and Panini is the logo on the door. Good luck.
2. Will Aaron Judge / Cody Bellinger be center stage as people experience the show?
If you have been to an NSCC in the past, it has been as much about vintage and autographs as modern cards, and Im curious how that will play out. With everyone and their mother looking for any deal they can find for Judge, im curious how that might play out on the show floor. As much as the show has its roots in tables of cards, its become a vendor spectacle over the last decade more than anything. Less focus has been put on the show each and every year, with group breaks and giant booths now dominating the way the floor is laid out. In this sense, it will be all Judge and Bellinger all the time, as it has become clear to everyone that putting Judge’s name on a garbage bag will add value to the final price.
The fact remains, vintage is a HUGE focus on the floor, and I just dont see that changing anytime soon. There are collectors who come from all over the world to find rare cards they might be missing, and the dealers arent going to change their bread and butter just because everyone else is digging for 99.
3. Will there be any big announcements?
There is always something that gets dropped at the National, some years are bigger than others. I really expect some interesting news to come from the likes COMC or other vendors of that nature, especially as they begin integrating themselves into more of the industry. As a whole, I dont foresee bombshells like we have seen in previous years, but look for some nice little nuggets just because there is a big stage for everyone to shout from.
4. Will traffic be up or down?
I think I saw that 650 vendors and 100 exhibitors will be on hand, which I believe makes this a larger show than it has been in the previous few years. That being said, its all about the traffic, and that’s where we could get differing perspectives. I would love to see a ton of people latch onto the hype floating around baseball this year and decide a trip is worth it, but it might not end up that way depending on a number of factors. Chicago tends to be a great place for the show because of its central location, and that will help things, unlike Atlantic City where you couldnt fly directly there from many places. Im interested to see how everything plays out.
5. Will group breakers showcase their hobby influence?
This is where I am most intrigued, as its clear that the breakers have had more and more of a place at the show. Since the creation of the group breaker stage, all the card companies and exhibitors have made it their focus to get on camera as much as possible. More than that, show events and scheduling involves the breakers too, which means its hard to go to the show and not see how much their influence has grown. Because of the way it works, things like the Panini VIP party present a great number of attendees from all the breakers at the show, and I doubt that will change. Its clear that for new products, these type of people are quickly becoming more than just the face of the hobby. They are becoming power brokers in a lot of ways, and the NSCC tends to be a place where they have a chance to shine.
Stay tuned for more coverage all weekend long, as the fireworks will start and not stop once Wednesday gets up and running. Ill have pictures, breakdown from the show floor, and all sorts of stuff to see. Looking forward to a fun week, as always. Follow @SCUncensored on twitter for live coverage as the events kick off.