The National #6 | Breaking into The Hobby

Breakers Pavilion has continuously grown since 2014

Date: Jun 20, 2024
Author: Greg Bates, Senior Writer
Topics: 2022 Bowman Baseball, Aaron Judge, Cleveland, David Gelfman, Education, Greg Bates, National Sports Collectors Convention, New York, New York Yankees, News, Ripping Wax Breakers Pavilion powered by Whatnot, The National, Yankees
Length: 834 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

Enjoy our sixth story in a series to help collectors prepare for the 44th annual National Sports Collectors Convention, which will be held in Cleveland from July 24 to 28. We will introduce a new topic each week leading up to the show.

This week, we look at the Breakers Pavilion and how it has continued to grow at each National. Don’t miss next week’s story, where we dive into the Autograph Pavilion, which will feature 150 star-studded athletes and entertainers conducting on-site signings.

When the Breakers Pavilion debuted at the 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, it was almost a trial run for the newest segment in The Hobby.

About 40 breaking operations took part in the show. A successful first year made it obvious that the Breakers Pavilion was going to be a mainstay every July at the largest card and memorabilia show.

Now in its 10th year — the 2020 National was cancelled due to COVID-19 — the Pavilion is reaching new heights back in Cleveland. This year’s Ripping Wax Breakers Pavilion powered by Whatnot will feature a record-setting 140-plus companies conducting live breaks. According to Ripping Wax owner David Gelfman, who has run the Breakers Pavilion every year, half of that number will be first-time breakers at The National.

“The industry has exploded over the past 10 years,” Gelfman said. “Technology has helped to amplify all the excitement behind the Breakers Pavilion, reaching more people across the world. At the event, the live breaks have become more entertaining and have generated more interest overall. The main stage has become more interactive with bigger hits in the breaks, giveaways on the main stage, and also more exciting elements to entertain kids. 

“Each year, the Pavilion has expanded with more sophisticated build-outs and greater interactivity between exhibitors and attendees. As a result, the media has supported these events and offered great coverage to help publicize the event. More and more people have attended year after year and added to the momentum.”

Smaller space, but more breakers

There is a lot of excitement surrounding this year’s Breakers Pavilion.

“This year’s Breakers Pavilion is going to be great,” Gelfman said. “There are a ton of new breaking operations joining the Pavilion, which speaks to the growth of the hobby and the power that the breaking sector has in the industry. All case break exhibitors will be offering at least one completely free break this year to live Pavilion attendees.”

Because the I-X Center in Cleveland is a little tighter with overall space for its showroom floor, the Breakers Pavilion will actually be smaller than most years at 20,000 square feet. In the past, the Pavilion has ranged from 14,000 to 65,000 square feet.

“The space in the venue is smaller this year, but the Pavilion will be jam-packed with attendees and exhibitors,” Gelfman said. “From the biggest breaks, to hunting the most sought-after, undiscovered cards, to engaging experiences from different brands, the Pavilion will have more than ever before.”

A cool hangout

The Breakers Pavilion has become a cool hangout for collectors who enjoy participating in breaks or just want to sit down to watch a break or get off their feet. The main stage inside the Breakers Pavilion is always hopping with activities, whether that’s a company breaking product to give away to kids, a high-end break is taking place, or there is a panel discussing hobby-related subjects.

“In my opinion, the Pavilion is the busiest, most electric part of the entire National,” Gelfman said. “There is non-stop activity. Someone is pulling a life-changing card on every corner, a seller is meeting their customers in person, and there’s no shortage of energy and passion. You also have the opportunity to meet your favorite breakers in person.”

With the hundreds of dealer booths, corporate sponsors showing off their latest and greatest products and services, and the Autograph Pavilion constantly buzzing, the Breakers Pavilion offers a change of pace. In Gelfman’s eyes, the Pavilion is an essential part of The National that brings in on-site traffic as well as creates additional business online on the breakers’ channels.

“Breaking fuels the hobby, and almost every card for sale on the show floor started in a box that got broke,” Gelfman said. “Not only have I imagined kids walking the floor with their dads, entering a break on the spot and potentially hitting a $10,000 card, but I have witnessed it in person.  “We’re bringing a mass audience to The National as well. The exhibitors in the Pavilion will be live all five days of the show on multiple platforms. I would estimate that we’ll bring The National experience to hundreds of thousands of people in homes around the world.”

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