How Could This Happen?: The Decline of the Trading Card Industry

Steven Merriam@@StevenMerriamCorrespondent INovember 16, 2009

370565 02: The famous T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, is shown June 6, 2000 in New York City. The legendary baseball card will be auctioned on eBay beginning on July 5, 2000. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

What young sports fan didn't love going to get a pack of baseball cards after a long school or summer day for a very cheap price?

I certainly did and I believe you all did to.  Cards had a big impact on my life as a kid; for example, when I got a sweet insert or jersey-piece of my favorite player I would go crazy.  I loved to get the latest issues of Beckket Sports Card Monthly to check the price of the card I had just received.

But now the card industry has changed. The Donruss company has been bought by a European company called Panini and in the past couple of years some very prestigious card companies have gone out of business.

Since the 1994 strike, the industry has gone way down hill.  I do not understand the reason for this decline in card sales. 

This problem makes no sense to me due to the fact that the cards are better than ever.  In certain companies' packs, you receive game-used jersey pieces, autographs, and even ticket stub cards.

Maybe the reason for this decline is that kids now have trading card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon.  Another reason is that maybe the children would rather play a video game as the players than have a piece of their jersey or their autograph.

The sports card industry was originally focused on adults, but since then companies have tried to make it focused more on kids, such as Topps making a website where friends can battle it out on which of their cards has the better stats.  Cards are predominantly bought by adults anyway, so I believe they should go back to the way they used to be.

Who has the money and has loved cards their whole lives? The adults.

How can it be that when computers started being household items that the card companies' sales dropped.  The companies have the whole Internet to advertise their product.

This summer, Topps and MLB made an agreement for Topps to become the official card of the MLB, thus leaving Upper Deck in the dust.  Now Upper Deck can feature the players on their cards, but not have anything associated with the MLB on their cards.  Also, companies have started to get exclusive clients, which leads to some players being left out of other packs.

Since 1994, football cards have become a much more popular product to sports collectors.  But football cards can never be the same as baseball cards. In 2006, the above card of Honus Wagner became the highest-selling card ever.

How often do you hear about cards anywhere these days? It really disappoints me.  I personally love to still get cards; even though others may find it a bit immature, I'm sure many fellow members of Bleacher Report still do the same as I.

All I can hope is that in the near future the card industry becomes a much bigger thing again, like it used to be.