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Best City to Host the NATIONAL SPORTS COLLECTORS CONVENTION? Hint, it's not Chicago

July 29, 2021 4 min read

Best City to Host the NATIONAL SPORTS COLLECTORS CONVENTION?  Hint, it's not Chicago

Where is the best location for the National Sports Collectors Convention?  You might be thinking Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New York.  These would all be popular picks.  But those would all be wrong answers.

Before I reveal the answer, let’s take a look at some criteria that makes up the “best” location.  These are the requirements the National tweeted out in 2020.

#1 It must have a convention center big enough to hold the National, ideally 400,000 square feet of continuous floor space.  The Donald Stephens Convention Center in Chicago where the National has been held many times has 840,000 square feet of convention space. 

#2 It must be in a place with a strong historic sports fan base and a sizable population that can get there within a 3-hour car ride.  Most vendors plan on driving or shipping out their items via truck, so the closer the better.  This crosses off places like Montana, although that would be a very nice vacation.

#3 No restrictions on load in and load out procedures.  You want your vendors to be able to load and unload booths and inventory with ease. 

#4 Sufficiently close and reasonable parking rates.

#5 Must have historical dates available (last week of July)

#6 Vendor friendly rates to keep booth prices the same.

I will also toss in 2 more.

#7 It must have affordable hotels.  No one wants to spend $200 or more a night on a hotel room for 5 nights of a convention. 

#8 As an extra bonus, if the city has some fun tourist things to do, that is a big plus.

To get on the initial list you had to meet the following criteria.

  • Be at or east of the median population center of the United States (meaning half of the population lives to the west and half the population lives to the east of this location). That is Pike County, Indiana.  Why east?  Out of the roughly 330 million people that live in the United States, 118 million or about 1/3 live on the East Coast. 

I know all our West Coast people aren’t going to like hearing this, but having the National on the East Coast is the best location.  It allows for the most amount of people to get to it quickly.  Not saying we can’t have the National in Los Angeles, but for the purposes of this video, we are trying to find the best location and that is somewhere on the East Coast, east of Pike County, IN.

  • Had to have a professional sports team from the NBA, NFL, MLB, or NHL. One of the requirements is to have a strong historic sports fan base.  Having a professional team in your city definitely helps.
  • Decent size population of over 250,000.
  • Had to have a convention exhibition space of 400,000 sq ft or more.

I don’t have a way of getting convention rates or dates available so I left that off.  Just so many variables there, how many tables, exact space needed, insurance, etc.  I also left off parking rates since there are so many variables of those, on street vs off street, time of day, is it a weekend.  Wouldn’t be any way to accurately judge those stats.  I took the average ranking of convention size, population size, and hotel prices and combined those to create the top 5.


So, who are the top 5 cities?


#5 Washington, DC

Very expensive city.  However, centrally located within the east coast.  A population and convention center size of around 700,000.  Solid sports fan base.  Checks the tourist box too.  Expensive city, hotel rates are very high at $175/night.

#4 New York City

Great convention size, huge population, obvious historic sports fan base.  What really hurt New York City was the average hotel price at $196 per night.  I can also imagine the cost to rent the Jarvits Center is astronomical too.  Saw a recent MLB event that was almost $600,000 to rent it.  NYC would be fun though being it is a tourist mecca.

#3 Indianapolis

Love Indy.  Only thing that held them back was convention size around 566,000 square feet.  Indy is a big sports town.  Cheap hotel rates at $110/night.  I can imagine rentals and parking aren’t too bad.  Location is closest to our median US population center of Pike County, IN.  Bit of a journey for our east coast people, although farther east than Chicago is. I think this would be a very fun city to have a National in.

#2 Chicago

The city with the most Nationals held.  Great location, easy to get to, huge convention center, very big sports city.  This one checks all the boxes.  Average hotel price of $183 per night is what dropped them to number 3.  After looking at all the data, you can see why Chicago has been picked so many times.

#1 Philadelphia

Centrally located on the east coast, historic sports fan base, average hotel price of $136 which surprisingly was one of the cheaper rates on this list.  Awesome tourist city for American history.  Convention center has 1 million sq feet and a population of 1.5 million.  Parking I am sure is probably atrocious.  All would come down to what the rental rates are for this to become a reality.  But Philadelphia comes in at #1 on this list.

So, there you have it, the Top 5 locations for the National.

Wait, Philadelphia?  Is that what collectors really want?  Might fit into all the criteria I just talked about and I can see why that would be a good choice.

But come on, let’s be real, everyone wants it to be in Las Vegas.  That is the obvious choice.  Great location.  Easy for Southern California and Texas people to get there.  Tons of convention space.  Cheap hotels.  Gambling if you want to do that.  Great pool scene and shows.  Give the people what they want!  Put the National in Las Vegas!

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