Author: Dawson Haywood
Sports trading cards have been a tradition that fathers and sons have enjoyed for generations. The first trading cards were created in the 1860's whenever baseball began to gain some traction. Other sports like football and basketball hopped on the trading card train and took their own route with it. As time went on sports were no longer the only types of cards that collectors could collect, purchase, and trade. We all know of brands like Pokemon, Yughio, and Magic that took a fantasy route with their cards and even made games out of it. So why are we no longer seeing trading cards on shelves anymore? What happened to them?
For a while, it seemed like trading cards were becoming a thing of the past. Pieces of paper with players and their stats no longer appealed to the everyday sports fan. The demand was low for any kind of trading card... until 2016 whenever Pokemon Go became the newest trend.
When Pokemon Go blew up it reminded people that grew up around the cartoon show how much fun it was to be a kid. Pokemon was notorious for their trading cards and some could even argue the cards were more popular amongst kids than the show itself. Once people were reminded how much fun being a kid was the demand for Pokemon cards skyrocketed but the supply could not keep up with the demand. Eventually, as people began feeling nostalgic, they began to wonder where sports cards were?
Back in the day Topps and Upper Deck produced cards from a variety of sports. They were officially licensed cards approved by leagues like to NBA and NFL and the companies competed with one another. The supply of these cards were high but they would have some cards that were limited and very valuable. For the casual collector, it was very easy to go to the store and spend $10 on a pack. But now, it is very unlikely you will find sports cards on the shelves at your local Walmart.
There are few companies now that produce sports cards, and these companies have it figured out to an extent. The demand is so high for sports cards now and companies that are allowed to produce these cards have made the supply so low that you have to be a serious collector to consider making a purchase these days. So the question remains, what about the segment of the market that just wants to casually collect sports cards without spending half their life savings?
With technology advancing and crypto currencies becoming increasingly popular companies and even individual teams, like the Hornets, have created their own Digital NFT (Non-Fungible Token). A Digital NFT is essentially an asset that is not tangible and is held in a secure blockchain. The Blockchain verifies that the asset (or the NFT) is just that, an asset. So, how does this pertain to sports?
If you were ever a sports card collector I highly suggest checking out NBA Top Shot. There you are able to buy, sell, and trade NBA Moments. To put it in simple terms, it is like online card trading. There is no physical asset that you are able to buy, sell, and trade it is all done online. Top Shot is the most popular website that is catering to the demand for the casual sports card trader. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
The Charlotte Hornets created an NFT of their own that they allowed fans to purchase for $4.99 on their mobile app. The NFT featured a piece of digital animation artwork that some may or may not find value. It all depends on supply and demand. It is likely that we see other teams do something similar and this could take place of the traditional trading card. Technology advancement is not slowing down anytime soon so it is likely that more people are able to figure out NFT's and make them the new trading card.