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One of my favorite shows of the year is the Fall Sports Card & Memorabilia Expo in Toronto. The weather is usually not very nice, but the collectors we meet at the show are always warm and friendly. We brought a great crew of Upper Deck staffers to the show this past weekend who were fired up to spend time with collectors and without a doubt, the team succeeded in bringing a lot of smiles to many hockey fans’ faces. And with Upper Deck’s 2010-11 Series One Hockey hitting store shelves the week before, collectors were fired up to break open packs over the weekend. In case you didn’t make it out to the show, here’s what you missed.
Things You Don’t See Every Day
There are a variety of booths with unique offerings throughout the show, but what makes it so much fun is when you see things you don’t see every day. I had a long-time collector stop by the booth on Sunday who let me know he just got a case of 2005-06 NHL The Cup, one of Upper Deck’s most famous NHL releases ever. Cases frequently sell for about $4,000 so when he informed me he was going to open it, I had to check it out. While he didn’t pull a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin rookie, he did okay and definitely had a lot of fun, even though his hands were shaking with excitement as he opened each pack.
Getting a Peek Behind the Curtain
Upper Deck has made a common practice of holding a collectors’ roundtable at this show every year where we gather up savvy collectors and spend time with them, providing a behind-the-scenes feel for what we do to help enhance their collecting experience. It’s a great opportunity for us to get some great feedback, but the collectors in attendance really enjoy getting a chance to see what we are coming out with next and getting the chance to ask questions to key Upper Deck staff. We want to thank all the collectors who took part in the program.
Taking a Card to the Game
We ran a very successful wrapper redemption program at the show for an autograph set of cards called “Upper Deck Priority Signings” at the show. To help promote the program, we produced six oversized cards of players from the set. One was of Nazem Kadri, the highly touted rookie for the Toronto Maple Leafs. We were invited by Grosnor Distribution to the Leafs game on Saturday night to get to spend time with some of the hobby shops they service. And wouldn’t you know it, Kadri was called up to be in the starting lineup for the game that night. So I thought it would be fun to bring this huge card to the game. Leafs fans got of a kick out of seeing this huge card as we showed it off during the game. We even ended up giving it to the stadium so they could display it there. Although Kadri didn’t have the best game, we had a lot of fun showing off his life-sized Upper Deck card.
Exposing the Hobby to the Next Generation of Collectors
Throughout the weekend we saw lots and lots of younger sports fans at the show who were excited to open packs of new Upper Deck cards. They were even more excited when they received an “Upper Deck Priority Signings” card. Check out some of the smiles from the next generation of sports card collectors.
Watching Fathers Connect with Sons
I grew up collecting with my father and brothers so I know firsthand how special that experience with family can be. It was so heartwarming to see fathers and sons have a great bonding moment with each other at the show over the weekend. Whether they were completing a huge set, winning a great prize from Upper Deck or celebrating moments after pulling a great autograph card, I feel like we really helped create some very memorable moments for fathers and sons this weekend at the show.
Giving Back to Loyal Collectors
Upper Deck held a series of four raffles at the 2010 Fall Sports Card & Memorabilia Expo where the company gave away more than 100 prizes as a way to thank its great fans. These raffles drew huge crowds and plenty of faithful UD fans walked away with smiles and great prizes including trading cards, memorabilia and apparel. The most memorable moment from the event was when a very excited collector won a pack of 2009-10 NHL The Cup. More over 50 fans watched with great anticipation as he opened his pack of super high-end trading cards. He pulled some great autograph and memorabilia cards and everyone got the chance to see what it is like to open a pack of cards valued at approximately $350.
Making Our Customers a Priority
With a red-hot rookie class this year including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, PK Subban and others, collectors were already planning on opening tons of packs of 2010-11 Upper Deck Series One Hockey. But we decided to make things a little more exciting by offering a very special wrapper redemption called the “Upper Deck Priority Signings” set. Collectors who opened a new Upper Deck box at our booth received one of these very special autograph cards. With names like Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Bobby Orr and more included in the set, collectors were definitely fired up about the program.
We know not everyone could make it up to Toronto for this year’s event. So as a thank you to our other loyal collectors, we’d like to give you the opportunity to get one of these cards. Just add a comment below about a time when Upper Deck made you smile and we will randomly select three of you who will receive one of these Priority Signings cards. We’ll select names on Thursday morning, Nov. 18, so share your story today!