Woodstock, MD August 7, 2009. - For the past thirty years the multi billion dollar sports collectible industry has looked upon The National Sports Collectors Convention, referred to as “The National”, as their crown jewel event. A place where collectors and dealers can meet annually to buy, trade and discuss collecting memorabilia, trading cards, autographs, game used equipment and other sports related collectibles.
In 2010, Baltimore and the Baltimore Convention Center will host the 31st National Sports Collectors Convention for the first time. I just returned from Cleveland where this year’s National was held at the International Exposition Center between July 29 – August 2nd. I was looking to rekindle old contacts, set up a couple of vendor client meetings and interview the Founder, Executive Director and promoter of the event, Mike Berkus.
I asked Mike ten (10) questions concerning the history and significance of the event not only for collectors and dealers but the City of Baltimore.
1) Who was responsible for creating The National and where did it originate?
Answer – Gavin Riley, Steve Brunner and I created the event in Los Angeles at the Airport Marriot during the 1991 Labor Day Weekend.
2) The National has impacted the growth of the “Hobby” (sports collectible community) for many years. What were your thoughts in the early years concerning your event?
Answer – We always felt that The National would be the one place, each year, that this Hobby could come together, meet other collectors and dealers, and just have a great time. Now, it appears that with eBay and the advent of on-line selling and buying, The National truly is the one event of the year that brings our Hobby together, face to face.
3) Greatest moment or event that you have encountered to-date?
Answer – Without question – the 1991 Anaheim convention where we saw 101,000 attendees. This event launched The National as the “Hobby’s showpiece”.
4) How many dealers and collectors / fans attended Cleveland this year? How many do you expect in Baltimore?
Answer – We had over 700 dealers from around the country exhibiting and approximately 24,000 collectors / fans attended the event. In Baltimore, we have a smaller space (Baltimore Convention Center) allocated us so we can only accommodate 605 dealer exhibits. However, attendance should increase to 35,000 with this being Baltimore’s first National event.
5) How does your event impact a hosting city financially?
Answer – We will sell over 4,000 room nights per night; restaurants handle as many as 15,000 customers, and everything from tourism to car rentals jump dramatically.
6) How do you determine where you hold your event and how did Baltimore get chosen?
Answer – My partners and I look at various factors including the availability of convention facilities throughout the country; then present a written report to our Board of Directors. They in turn, present the advance locations to our participating dealers who vote on the city location.
7) Are your dealers excited about coming to Baltimore?
Answer – Baltimore has so far generated more excitement than we have witnessed in over 10 years. Upon returning home from Cleveland I had over 140 e-mails requesting space and information for Baltimore. I do not remember this ever happening.
8) How is the memorabilia market holding up based on the economy?
Answer – Fairly well. Even the high end product has sold better than expected. Our Hobby has always been an escape from people’s day-to-day problems and this economy has only increased that need to escape
9) Do you partner with city businesses such as hotels, restaurants, professional teams, travel and other corporate entities?
Answer – Absolutely, we must have strong partnerships in each city we visit, to make The National a success. We cannot be truly successful as a stand alone event. We depend on all forms of media to join with us in contests, hotels to be receptive to our thousands of attendees and dealers. Local business can participate as corporate exhibitors and/or partner with us in promoting and advertising the event.
10) What makes the National a “can’t miss” for Baltimore sports fans?
Answer – The high profile athletes we bring in, exhibitors and memorabilia from around the country. We average over 90 superstars at every National. TriStar is our partner in bringing in athletes and they work closely with us to make the National a success.
The National Sports Collectors Convention is gathering of serious collectors and dealers who are interested in collecting memorabilia, autographs, trading cards, game used equipment or any other sports related collectible. You won’t want to miss great event coming to Baltimore, so save this date – August 4- 8, 2010 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
For more information concerning The National visit www.nsccshow.com or more about Baltimore’s National visit www.SchulteSports.com.