By Ray Schulte, SchulteSports.com
The first list of guests scheduled to sign autographs at the 31st National Sports Collectors Convention (aka "the National") was recently released. Headlining the list for the August event are Baseball Hall of Famers and Oriole greats Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Earl Weaver.
The National will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center Aug. 4-8. The largest collectibles show in the country has never been to Charm City, but dealers from across the country will travel east to exhibit their wares.
Newly-elected Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog will also be signing autographs at the National after their induction into Cooperstown. They will be joined in Baltimore by other legends including Willie Mays, Joe Montana, Rod Carew, Bart Starr, Wade Boggs and Bo Jackson, to name just a few. In all, approximately 70 Hall of Fame and current athletes from every sport will be signing at the Tri-Star Autograph Pavilion during the five-day event.
For the past 30 years the multi-billion-dollar sports collectibles industry has looked upon the National as the crown jewel event, a place where collectors and dealers can meet annually to buy, trade and discuss memorabilia, trading cards, autographs, game-used equipment and other sports-related collectibles.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience will not only excite collectors and fans, it will also financially benefit the city of Baltimore, including retailers, downtown restaurants, hotels and rent-a-car companies. The following is a brief snapshot of what hosting this event will mean for Baltimore:
• Approximately 30,000-35,000 collectors are expected to attend, staying multiple nights.
• The event will include more than 600 collectible exhibitor booths and 100 corporate booth set-ups, which translates to approximately 3,000 exhibitor personnel in the city for six to seven nights.
• Exhibitors and fans collectively expected to purchase more than 4,500 room nights per night, with approximately 20,000-plus restaurant customers added.
• Children under 12 will be admitted free to make it a family destination.
• Seventy-plus athletes will generate local and national media attention.
“We are extremely excited that the National Sports Collectors Convention will be held in Baltimore for the very first time,” said John Broggi, NSCC executive director/promoter. “Baltimore has an exceptionally strong sports tradition and the city is easily accessible from up and down the northeast corridor.”
The convention launched in 1991 in Anaheim with 101,000 attendees. The East Coast hasn’t experienced a collectibles show of this magnitude since 2003, when the National was held in Atlantic City.
Issue 147: March 2010