2024 Hobby Trends and Friends

Exciting Things in the New Year

Date: Dec 29, 2023
Author: Greg Bates, Senior Writer
Topics: 2024 Trends, Ripped Unwrapped
Length: 903 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

As the calendar rolls over, collectors are offered a clean slate. It’s a time to reflect on what they like about their collections and what direction they’d like to go in for 2024. Perhaps a collector switches teams or favorite players. That could mean venturing outside the box and collecting a new sport. Every collector is different. That’s part of the fun of The Hobby. There are no right and wrong ways to collect. Undoubtedly, 2024 will give collectors many opportunities to expand on their passion. In this Trends & Friends piece, we look at what collectors can look forward to in the coming months.

Image courtesy of the MLB®

MLB Spring Training “Spring Breakout”

Prospecting has been popular for quite some time.

Collectors want to identify raw, talented youngsters — whether they were the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft, a late-round selection, or a relatively unknown 15-year-old from the Dominican Republic — before they become the next big thing at the professional level.

In 2024, MLB is going one step further in showcasing its top prospects. The spring training schedule will feature a new four-day event called “Spring Breakout,” with each MLB club fielding a team of their top prospects to play exhibition games against another club’s top prospects. In-park fan engagement opportunities will also be centered around each team’s up-and-coming players.

The event is slated for March 14-17, 2024, and will feature seven-inning games for both the Grapefruit League (Florida-based clubs) and Cactus League (Arizona-based clubs). Each team will be comprised of an organization’s top 20-25 prospects from all levels of Minor League Baseball.

Rosters for each club haven’t been set yet, but prospects such as Baltimore Orioles shortstop/second baseman Jackson Holliday, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio, and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes will be at the top of the must-watch list.

Photo from a Topps Hobby Rip Night event

The Modernization of Hobby Shops

With interest in The Hobby through the roof, card shops have been popping up around the country.

Shop owners know that in order to compete in this industry, they need something that will make them stand out. Cue the 21st Century, state-of-the-art hobby shop. A sleek design — reminiscent of an Apple Store — with a customer-friendly concept where collectors are able to do everything from on-site breaking to scanning QR codes to find information on a card to 24-hour livestream shopping. Two cutting-edge shops will open in the new year: CardsHQ in Atlanta, and AA Mint Cards in Cooper City, Florida.

CardsHQ is a 14,000-square-foot shop near Truist Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves. The shop takes inspiration from shops in Japan and China that feature new-age designs, including vertical display cases, to make it easier for collectors to look at items. The store is also implementing livestreaming, where online customers from around the world will be able to shop 24 hours a day. CardsHQ is slated to open at the end of January/early February.

AA Mint Cards will resemble an Apple Store with bright lights and a modern, sleek look. The 2,400-square-foot location will feature a state-of-the-art concept. On the walls are six grids filled with PSA slabbed cards and six grids with SGC slabs, totaling just over 1,000 cards. Each card has a QR code that customers can scan and quickly receive a card’s price, high-resolution images of the front and back of that card, and a population report. All that information is available with just a few clicks on a phone. AA Mint Cards will have an on-site concierge who will be able to review cards before they are submitted for grading. The concierge will be able to tell the collector whether or not to send in a card based on what grade it could receive. AA Mint Cards is scheduled to open on January 20.

Check out this video from The 2023 National in Chicago

The National in Cleveland

The last three National Sports Collectors Convention (The National) events have been the place to be for collectors. The 2023 show in Chicago set an all-time attendance record at over 100,000. The most recent show also marked the largest area ever used at over 600,000 square feet.

The momentum from the 2023 National will most certainly carry over to this coming year. The 44th National returns to Cleveland for the eighth time; it will be held at the I-X Center from July 24 to 28.

New wrinkles could be in the mix this year as new show promoters step in. JBJ Corporation — run by card/memorabilia dealers Joe Drelich, Brian Coppola, and Jim Ryan — will be responsible for this year’s event. The trio replaces John Broggi, the show manager for the last 17 years, and his business partner, Dan Berkus.

Enjoy this throwback video of J-Rod cooking up some hot packs of 2023 Topps Series 1 Baseball.

Topps Series 1 is Coming

It’s the product baseball card collectors anxiously await to mark the official start of the season: The Flagship.

Dropping on February 14, the product returns with an array of rookies and veterans, as well as parallels and inserts. Keep your eyes peeled for more info as we get closer to Valentine’s Day 2024 Topps Series 1 Baseball Day. It’s going to be epic.

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