Show #91 2012 Las Vegas Industry Summit Preview + NBA Hoops

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Sports Cards Radio will be on location again at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas, NV from March 18 - 21 for the Sports Card Industry Summit.

It should be a great time - with lots of interesting topics & discussion that revolve around the event. Last year I remember lots of talk about getting Hobby Stores an advantage over online 'Blowout' type websites. Recently we've seen some online sites open physical stores fronts - possibly due to the stipulations Panini and Upper Deck put on retailers at last years event.

The Orleans Casino - Las Vegas, NV
One of the topics I remember is creating a 'hobby blaster' or essentially a different way to sell packs at the hobby level. We haven't seen any real movement on this front and I'll be curious to see if anyone pushes for this again this year.

Be Sure To Follow:

Ryan - SportsCardNews
Colin - SportsCardRadio

We'll be tweeting throughout the event with interesting factoids.

SUNDAY, MARCH 18

  • 1:00 to 6 PM:  Registration and Welcome Gift distribution, courtesy of Southern Hobby Supply

- In 2011 everyone got a duffel bag with some cards from Panini, supplies and other items

1:30 to 3:30 PM:  60-minute targeted seminars

  • Celebrity Signings 101: Scott Schwartz shares a low-risk strategy for increasing store traffic:  Scheduling a pop-culture autograph signing.

- This looks pretty cool, and most people think of athletes as a way to bring traffic into a store - but actors, people on TV and others can attract collectors. Often times you can team these autograph signings up with sales of 8x10's and other memorabilia - often at a higher margin that most sports cards.

  • Say “Yes’’ to Collections: Mark Jordan of Heritage Auctions and Tim Getsch of www.Comc.com share a variety of strategies for turning an off-the-street collection into profit.

- I'm honestly not too sure what this is about - but possibly as a hobby store owner you get quite a bit of people wanting to sell cards to you .... sometime for cheap prices. You can buy these cards and while they might not move in your store - at auction or on COMC, you could make a little money from this traffic.

  • Grading & Authenticity Update: Mark Anderson of Beckett Grading Services hosts an update on trends in grading – and the latest “scam alerts’’ from across the industry.

- I'm actually pretty curious to see what the 'scam alerts' might be ... possibly faking jersey patches and things like that? Hopefully we can fill you in on this one - as you always want to keep your guard up when buying any collectible, especially sports cards.

  • E-marketing 201: How every retailer should be utilizing Facebook, Twitter and e-mail newsletters to increase store traffic and customer loyalty.  Hosted by Mike Fruitman and Lisa Stellato.

- I think e-mail newsletters are under-used. Twitter and Facebook take time to develop and often a shop owner doesn't want to put in the time. Yelp might be something a card store could use as well, but often isn't talked about.

  • 3:30 to 5 PM: Brick-and-Mortar Retailer annual meeting. Includes launch of the popular Idea Exchange segment, hosted by Sports Images.

- This is actually pretty entertaining, everyone speaks in the room and you get an idea how everyone's year went sales wise. In 2011 people were still feeling the effects of a down economy, so it will be interesting to see if the outlook is more positive in 2012.

  • 5 to 6:30 PM:  Welcome Reception, hosted by The Isaacson family. Your first chance to tour the Summit show floor, re-connect with friends and visit each Corporate Home Base.

- They gave out some 'free' drink tickets last year, and somehow I ended up with three of them.

  • 7 PM:  Free time for dinner out and enjoying Las Vegas.

- We'll squeeze in a day 1 wrap up show before the day 1 ends, be sure to tune in to see what the overall vibe of the event is on day one.


MONDAY, MARCH 19

 

  • 7:30 AM: Show floor open: Morning Welcome, hosted by All Sports Marketing

- If you're like me, at 7:30am in Las Vegas, you're either eating at a buffet because you stayed up all night gambling, or you're asleep. For those of you that already deal with All Sports Marketing, or don't need a relationship with them, typically these are a chance for the sponsors to talk about their company - so you only need to attend if you really want to.

  • 8 AM:  “The First Pitch” – a fast-paced introduction to the Summit.

- Not something you really need to attend if you're having a rough morning or have been to the event in the past ... but worth attending if you are brand new to the event.

  • 9 AM: Panel discussion: “Fearless Forecast: The card business in March 2014.’’ Summit host Kevin Isaacson will moderate a panel discussion featuring several industry leaders/innovators.

- The host of the event Kevin Issacson is a really nice guy and does a great job organizing this every year. He's at the event for over 12 hours each day ... so it's not a vacation by any means. His forecast will probably be a bit biased to the hobby stores - as this is who the event caters to, but he is a straight shooter so this might be an interesting talk.

  • 10 to 11 AM: Show Floor open for Home Base activities

- Pretty much a break in the action, I think if you had a really great night in Vegas on Sunday - you could roll out of bed and show up at 11:00am and not have missed much.

  • 11 AM:  Panini America corporate address, main meeting area

- Who knows what Panini will have planned for this, last year they announced a new deal where hobby shops get product a week before 'online guys' and essentially killed selling Panini boxes on eBay. I don't expect any major announcements like that, but this is probably when you want to show up on day 2 ... go have lunch and be ready for the afternoon.

  • 2 PM:  Panel discussion:  “Legal issues in the collectibles industry.’’

- This might be pretty interesting. I know Adrenalyn, eTopps and ToppsTown all took a dump this year because it seems there was some litigation that caused the card companies to pull out of this market. We'll see if they say anything about that.

  • 3 PM:  Panel discussion:  “Resolving redemptions :: Looking for leadership.’’

- Looking for leadership is right! Boy, I remember sitting in 2 sessions last year about redemptions - and there seemed to be some good ideas floated around. However, we really haven't seen much effort by the card companies to make them more exciting and easier to redeem than previous years. One of the best ideas from last year were hobby shops who give you trade in value for redemptions you don't feel like redeeming.

  • 4 PM:  Panel discussion: “Industry promotion in a digital media world’’

- Not really sure what this means, maybe the fact that Beckett used to dominate the information scope when magazines were the only source of information (pre-internet). I actually think the hobby gets promoted way more now online than it ever did through traditional print media. Using this to your advantage is what most people don't understand, instead of waiting for Beckett or another site to write about your store or products ... you can literally do it yourself now!

  • 5 PM:  Show Floor closed for the evening.


Afternoon schedule ::  Retailers ONLY

  • Magazine Exchange/Konami luncheon, Noon to 1:15 p.m., Salons J&M.   This event is for brick-and-mortar retailers.
  • Upper Deck Diamond Dealer meeting, 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., Salon A&F.   This event is for authorized Upper Deck Diamond Dealers.
  • Topps Retailing for Success seminar, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., Salons K&L.   This event, hosted by Alan Narz, is for brick-and-mortar retailers and Topps’ corporate invitees.
  • Topps Reception, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Stardust Suite:  This event is for brick-and-mortar retailers and Topps’ corporate invitees.

- We don't own a hobby store, so we won't be attending these events.

 


 

TUESDAY, MARCH 20

  • 7:45 AM:  Show floor open:  Morning Welcome, hosted by Sweet Deal

- Sweet Deal is a wholesale sports card distributor located in California. This is a distributor that I either haven't came across, or is fairly new. I will be trying to gather some information from them, as they are located in my home state. Again, if you already do business with them - or have no need, you can stay in bed for this one.

  • 8:30 AM:  Panel discussion:  “Distribution 2013:  Improving our ability to reach collectors’’ moderated by the NHLPA’s Adam Larry. Executives from companies including Upper Deck, Topps and Panini America will discuss developments in trading card distribution.

- Hopefully they come up with some more ways to package cards other than just 1 box or 1 pack. Seems like the blaster boxes are cool and at the hobby level you could create some exclusive inserts for all the different distribution platforms you use.

  • 9:30 AM:  Show floor open for Home Base activities & promotions.
  • 10 AM:  Solution Session I:   Participate in one of three interactive discussions:
  1. Resolving Redemptions:
  2. Legal issues for trading card retailers.   Featured speaker:  Paul Lesko, an Alton, IL-based attorney who focuses on intellectual property litigation.  (Salon K&L)

- These are cool - based on the discussions that went on Monday - some 'solutions' will be hammered out during this session. Remember, I attended a session on redemption cards last year, so not too much has changed!

  • 11 AM:  Solution Session II:   Participate in one of three interactive discussions:
  1. Developing compelling product: Experts from Topps, Panini America, Upper Deck and Press Pass share insight on card-development processes and priorities.

- You could argue that the companies should listen more than they talk during this event - because the hobby store owner is going to have a very good perspective on what helps products sell to collectors.

  • MLBPA open mike: The MLBPA’s Evan Kaplan will host a discussion session regarding baseball-focused collectibles and hobby-channel promotions.

- Might be kind of interesting to catch this as the MLBPA has opened its doors to Panini in order to make baseball products. It's possible we see more deals like this in the future ... and maybe Topps won't be the only one with an official license in the future.

  • Noon to 1 PM:  Working luncheon, hosted by NHL Enterprises, NHL Players Association, Upper Deck and Panini America (main meeting area)
  • 1:30 PM:  Meet The Industry: Presentations
  • 3:30 PM: Meet The Industry: Interactive

- These two meet the industry presentations are worth attending, I remember picking up lots of freebies for give-a-ways last year during this time. You also hear things like "We spent 1 Million Dollars On Our Website" - Beckett & "We think video cards are the next big thing" - Upper Deck.

  • 4:30 PM: Celebration event hosted by Great American Distribution, Topps and Panini America – prize drawings, the Summit silent auction and much more!
  • 5:30 PM:  The Ultimate Case Break, hosted by GTS Distribution and Panini America
  • 6:30-8 PM:  Summit Bowling Bonanza: The Magazine Exchange and Topps will host a bowling event at The Orleans’ 70-lane facility for brick-and-mortar retailers & special guests.

- I didn't attend any of these events because I really wanted to just go chill in Vegas with my friends! However if you own a hobby store, these are worth attending because you can build some solid relationships during this time.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21

 

  • 8:30 AM:  Morning Welcome
  • 9 AM:  Panel Discussion:  “Growth of the micro-manufacturing market.’’

- I guess they toss these guys in at the end when everyone is packed up ;) Nah, these guys play an interesting role in the hobby and keep the bigger card companies honest when it comes to paying for signatures and things like that.

  • 10 AM:   Idea Exchange:  The most unique promotions and business practices from more than 100 retailers and industry leaders are profiled.

- This is actually pretty cool, but I'll be on my flight back to glorious Stockton, CA by this time. You should try and stay for this if you are a shop owner.

  • 11 AM:  Retailer review:  A panel of industry retailers assesses Summit developments and provide key take-aways from a brick-and-mortar perspective.

NOON:  Show floor closes for 2012.

- Peace out and see you next year. I won't be attending any of the events on Wednesday, but it should be a solid wrap-up to the event. Kevin Issacson keeps you updated throughout the year with little tid-bits via e-mail, and we'll try to keep you updated on those as well.

- Listen To Show #91 Below -

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