Discover The TRUTH about the SPORTS TICKET Market. Is it a FAD or an Underrated Collectible?
April 13, 20225 min read
With the recent explosion in the sports collectible ticket market, I thought it would be a good time to put together a video and bring some clarity to the subject. Here are some topics we will discuss today: #1 Why tickets have become popular #2 Is this a fad? Are they actually collectible? #3 The types of tickets people are collecting #4 Future of the ticket market
#1 Why have tickets become so popular lately? Much of this has to do with all collectibles in general having a renewed interest. Pokémon and sports cards for example have really taken off in popularity in the last few years and become more mainstream. Tickets are no different. Profits are a big driving force of that. No doubt many people are getting involved because they see the potential of huge sums of money to be made. Collectors and investors are smart for the most part. They can see that tickets unlike most collectibles aren’t increasing in supply. Most sports teams have gone towards digital for getting fans their tickets. Everything is done through the league’s mobile app. While all those characteristics are important in understanding why tickets have become so popular lately, there really is more to it than really any other collectible on the market. I am going to be piggybacking off a recent comment known ticket collector who you all love to hate and hate to love, Darren Rovell made. He brings up some valid points that I wanted to share with you.
Many collectors were physically at these events. There’s a huge organic, emotional connection between what happened at that event and the collector. For example, were you a big Dodgers fan and you just happened to be at Game 1 of the 1988 World Series vs the A’s, where Kirk Gibson hit that magical home run off Dennis Eckersley? Even if you weren’t at the game, you were probably watching on TV or listening on the radio. When someone brings up this game or you see the home run on TV, you are instantly transported back to that memory you had created in 1988. The ticket is your portal back to that.
True scarcity. Yes, there may have been 50,000 people at that Dodgers game. But how many actually kept their tickets? Not many. Even if there were 10,000 still around, compare that to the amount of baseballs Mike Trout has signed or jerseys Joe Montana has signed. Well above that 10,000. No more 1988 tickets are being made.
They can be graded and autographed just like cards. This adds tremendous value to the ticket. PSA will grade your ticket just like they do cards. Imagine having that 1988 World Series ticket signed by Kirk Gibson and then on top of that Vin Scully who called the game? Or Tommy Lasorda who managed it? Then having PSA grade the autographs a 10 and the ticket an 8. All those things can customize your ticket and add value.
They are pieces of art. Many of these tickets have superb artwork and layouts that are pleasing to look at. Not just a photo of a player, but maybe an image of the stadium or some unique fonts and text that makes each ticket unique and its own piece of art.
The tickets tell a story. Not just of the game, that’s obvious. But also, why there are so few of a certain game. For example, the Cubs Steve Bartman game where he got in Moises Alou’s way of catching that foul ball and thus leading to the Cubs loss in that playoff game and ultimately their chance at going to the World Series. Everyone remembers that game. Why is this ticket so hard to find? Because Cubs fans threw away their tickets being pissed at the loss. The chase to find a rare ticket also keeps ticket collectors motivated and constantly in touch with the market.
#2 Is this a fad? I think you can tell by some of the topics I brought up under #1 I don’t think so. Tickets have been around for 100 + years. They have been collected for some time; you just didn’t know much about it since it wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. As with any industry, where there are hardcore collectors and rare items being sold for high dollar amounts, that industry tends to be healthy. Every time a rare ticket gets found or is sold at an auction; it brings new attention to the industry. Plus, with a ticket’s emotional connection to a fan, there will always be someone interested in collecting or buying that special ticket.
#3 Types of Tickets to Buy This of course depends on your goals. Buying your 1st ever ticket to a baseball game you went to with your dad has 0 value to anyone else but you. However, having you and your dad both autograph the ticket. Now that’s a cool collectible. I did something similar with my oldest daughter when I took her to her 1st Royals game. She won tickets with perfect school attendance that year. I had the tickets framed with a bunch of photos from the game. Super cool, I absolutely love the piece. 1/1 piece and only important to me and her. I would argue pieces like that are just as important if not more than the investment pieces you buy. With that being said, what types of tickets hold the most value in the industry? You guessed it, one’s around special moments that tell a story engrained in sports history. That 1988 World Series home run by Kirk Gibson. A ticket from Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. one from the Steve Bartman Moises Alou game. Outside of that, debut tickets have become very popular. These have sort of become similar to a player’s rookie card. I don’t mind them so much, but unless it’s a LeBron James debut ticket (or someone that had a ton of hype around their 1st game), I would much rather have a ticket around a moment. A player’s 1st home run, or a day that hit for the cycle or scored 50 points. Those can be collectible as well. Not for every collector, but they offer a cheaper alternative some in cases than the “moment” or “debut” tickets. Maybe a ticket from that player’s last game? As with anything I have talked about on this show, you do you. Buy what interests you. What you think is cool and interesting. Don’t like tickets? That’s fine too. They are not for everybody. Just don’t be the guy that brings someone else down because they do like them.
#4 What’s the future of the ticket market look like? I still think there is plenty of room for growth. I know that is easy to say and seems like every collectible market tends to be that way. I say this because the ticket market hasn’t had as much celebrity endorsement as the sports card market has. Example being Drake opening up boxes of cards with Ken Goldin. Or Logan Paul sporting his Pokémon card at WrestleMania. If you get a big celebrity behind the ticket market things could really take off quickly. However, right now the ticket market is still generally very small compared to the sports card market. There is opportunity for PSA to improve their slabs. Some seem too big for the tickets. Be nice if they all fit snug like the cards do. Very cool that PSA puts on their slab label info about the ticket moment. Lastly, there’s an opportunity for the teams to keep the tickets alive. For example, a player hits his 500th home run that day, print up a limited edition of 500 tickets, actual tickets that are numbered, just like you would use to go the game (if they printed them still) and sell those on the MLB website. Sort of like a Topps Now card, but for tickets. After that Field of Dreams game, you could buy those replica tickets, but thousands of those were made. I am talking about a high-end collectible with a certificate of authenticity and encased by PSA. That would be super cool.
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