Why Are Sports Cards Going Up Value?

Some of the first sports cards have been around before the turn of the century

However, they started to become prevalent in the early 1900s. 

Ever since, collecting these cards has become an American pastime for kids and adults alike.

It seems now that there has been a resurgence in the popularity of sports cards

Gary Vee Influence

In fact, this resurgence is thanks to influencers such as Gary Vaynerchuk

He is a huge proponent of sports card investing and even claims to have personally invested over one million dollars into sports cards. 

Gary V is on multiple platforms and will predict and make videos about specific sports cards.

He has millions of followers, so one can only imagine what role these followers could play in the demand on sports cards.

Gary V is also a proponent of card shows. He has a large influence on the younger crowd in the niche and they are starting to get more interested in card shows. 

Card Shows

I bet you are wondering what is so interesting about these card shows.

I can tell you firsthand that these shows are awesome for anyone who is in the hobby or wants to get in the hobby.

You can see a vast variety of cards from multiple sellers in one place. You can also network with the people there as most people in the hobby are cordial and genuine.

If you are aware of the prices of certain cards, you can even sometimes find cards at a value below their market price.

This is attractive to buyers and one reason why people are spending thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars at card shows. 

Increase in Consumer Spending

People are willing to fork over loads of money for specific sports cards and boxes. Why is this? Let’s unpack this statement and find out.

Sports such as basketball have become more and more popular over time.

The fans of the sport absolutely love it and cannot get enough. So much to the point where sports card boxes in Walmart or Target are typically sold out.

People will try to time it out and go to retailers at a specific time just to get their hands on a box of cards.

Along with retail spending, there are specific rare cards that have been purchased for a plentiful sum of money in the past couple of years.

In fact, a Mike Trout card recently had bids at about 1.45 million dollars!

I think it’s safe to say that demand is through the roof on sports cards.

Hype Culture

Thanks to social media outlets such as tiktok, the hobby of sports card collecting is gradually making its way into hype culture. 

Now, what exactly is this culture? Hype culture is a community that revolves around streetwear.

This includes (but is not limited to) Supreme, Jordan, Off-white, and much more.

In recent times, a plentiful amount of the sneakerheads have been transitioning to selling sports cards.

Most of that community is interested in sports and interested in money, so it makes perfect sense for them to enter the card game.

Topps Project 2020

With the release of project 2020, the sports card industry saw a ton of flippers.

At one point, these $20 cards reached over $1000 even though they have no qualities of an expensive card.

They were overproduced, no auto or relic, and not an official rookie card of any player.

Yet because of the hype from some of the artists on the card, the prices reached new highs daily until it came crashing down.

A ken griffey jr had a print run of around 100k and the bubble popped.

Little to no Barriers to Entry

I must inform you that unlike the sneaker game for example, buying and selling sports cards has virtually no barriers to entry.

It’s easier than ever to go online, to a card show, or a collectables shop and buy a card or pack of cards for about five bucks.

There aren’t exclusive cards where you need connections just to buy them.

Every card that you see displayed at one point in time was part of a pack inside of a box.

With all this being said, the only little barrier that I can think of is that certain packs sell out very quickly and are hard to get your hands on.

Thankfully, no one knows which cards are in each pack, so the packs that are sold out in retailers are not terribly expensive in other markets.

Increase in Price of Boxes

Have you tried to go to your local Walmart or Target and grab a pack of sports cards lately?

If so, you will notice that it’s much more difficult than it seems. Chances are, all the basketball and baseball cards will be sold out!

This is because the demand is so high right now the people are even flipping retail boxes of sports cards.

Brands such as panini have certain sub-brands (optic, mosaic, illusions) that are selling out right when they hit the shelves.

This is happening because the cards that are in these packs can be worth upwards of $500!

For example, a PSA 10 Panini Prizm  Zion Williamson base card is currently worth about $600 as of me writing this.

Some say this is bad for the card game, but I disagree. I believe the new found demand will help sports cards become more popular in years to come.

Hobby Boxes Sold out by Bots

Like the shoe game, people are using bots to buy boxes.

The boxes are sold out right away.

And are now hyped as rare.

With the people setting up bots controlling the prices.

Breakers buying out cases

Lately, people have been using social media platforms to do pack breaks. What is this you ask?

People will buy packs from someone (typically a streamer or youtuber) and they will have a box of cards from a specific year. 

 The process is simple: The box owner will buy a box and sell all the individual packs to people.

They will then mix the packs and then each person who bought gets assigned a pack. When the packs are opened, whoever gets assigned the pack gets all the cards in the pack (unless it’s by team).

The benefit of this process is that people do not have to loosen their wallets too much and they can buy a pack of cards from an expensive box at a great price.

90s Kids now have money

Another interesting factor that has driven up the price of sports cards comes down to a simple word: nostalgia. 

Grew up in the junk wax era

All of the 90s kids had sports cards growing up due to them being mass produced during this time.

Therefore, they are extremely excited to get back into the hobby due to its increased popularity by either buying or selling.

This cohort wants to feel the sensation they had as a kid opening a pack and pulling the rare card. 

Kid(s) are off to college

Their kids are finally leaving the household which saves them both a lot of time and money.

At the same time, adults tend to want to fill that void and have more discretionary income.

This leads them into joining a hobby. For any sports fanatic, what hobby better than sports cards?

Less Expenses in the household

When the kids are out of the house, there is more discretionary income available for the card-loving 90s generation.

Especially if they have already paid their house off. What does this mean?

They will spend even more on cards because they will need a hobby to keep themselves amused. 

Want to invest

People are tired of getting screwed over by stocks.

The stock market is extremely volatile right now and people want a safer place to put their money.

The card market, however, is booming as people have been watching sports meticulously due to COVID. Therefore, people want to invest into sports cards.

A New Hobby

Due to Coronavirus, people have had a lot of extra time on their hands.

People have been searching high and low for a new hobby.

Sports card collecting is a great hobby to pick up. 

If you are at a high risk of getting sick, you can buy and sell on sites such as ebay.

If you do not want to, you don’t need to interact with anyone from a physical standpoint.

If you can be safe in public, there are card shows around on the weekends. This gives people something to do, and it is fun networking and learning the card game.

Increase in sports betting

Online sports betting has turned into a huge industry.

People love betting on their favorite teams and players.

Companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel capitalize on this notion and are extremely lucrative.

What does this have to do with sports cards?

An increase in sports betting correlates to an increase in interest in sports.

When people are interested in sports and interested in making money, they will typically end up shifting to investing in sports cards. 

Also, more hype in sports means that there will be more demand for sports cards. These cards will spike up in value due to the rising demand.

The Vegas Dave Influence

Along with Gary V, another huge card influencer is Vegas Dave.

He is famously known for buying a rare 1/1 Mike Trout 1st Bowman Superfractor card for hundreds of thousands of dollars and selling it for 3.93 million dollars.

This sale broke a record previously held by someone in 2016 for selling a Honus Wagner card from the T206 set. 

Similar to Gary V, Dave announces his picks on what cards will rise in value. Fanatics absolutely love this and they will even pay him for his opinion.

Vegas Dave is also into sports betting. He did this before getting into the card game and as he started investing in sports cards, his following started investing with him.

People Finding out about card auctions going for millions

With high end modern cards now fetching a ton of money, people are now getting into the hobby.

People realize that there is insane potential due to the resurgence of card collecting.

Along with the Mike Trout card, there are other cards selling for an absurd amount of money.

There was a Lebron Patch Rookie Auto card that sold for 1.8 million dollars. Lebron James is a future hall-of-famer who has gotten bigger then ever (especially as the sport of basketball has grown).

Along with the Lebron card, there is also a Zion Williamson rookie card with a $500,000 bounty! It is absolutely nuts how far basketball cards have come.

Can’t Buy a Team? Buy Cards

There have always been people wanting to buy sports teams and become an owner. 

However, doing so costs loads of money and is typically only reserved for people with billions of dollars. 

Not to mention, you also need great connections to even come across this opportunity.

What does this mean? 

Owning Cards is way less Expensive

People want to invest into their players who they adore. How will they do this? 

Through memorabilia and sports cards. 

Less space then owning actual memorabilia

 What happens if they live in a small apartment and do not have room for memorabilia? They will buy sports cards!

Can own thousands of cards

A proper card storage container can hold thousands of cards and does not take up too much space.

Great Gift Idea

Sports cards make fantastic gifts for friends and family.

I recently got a friend a Dwayne Wade rookie card for his birthday. 

He thought it was super unique and creative. 

This is his first well-preserved card and he can even sell it in the future for a greater price.

 I also got another friend a plaque of cards of his favorite team and he still displays it in his room. 

These gifts can be fairly cheap and it is a definite buy for any sports fanatic.

Technology Brings Us Closer

In today’s world, people can buy and sell from each other via these sites without even seeing the other person. 

This phenomenon has never happened before. Online markets single handedly revolutionized the card game. 

The Rise of Social Media 

Technology is the perfect segue into my next point: social media.

Nowadays we can share a plentiful amount of information with friends and family.

Any type of information can be diffused quickly and sports cards are no exception. 

Connect With other collectors

On sites such as Offerup and Facebook marketplace, you have the opportunity to not only buy and sell cards, but also meet the other collectors.

This is interesting as it adds a possible social aspect to card collecting. If you are someone who goes to conventions, you might even bump into people you bought cards off of.

Sell to others instead of dealers

For starters, the world is more interconnected thanks to companies such as Ebay and Amazon.

There is a huge online market for cards of all types which include but are not limited to Pokemon, Yugioh, Magic the Gathering, and of course, Sports. 

Discord Groups

There have been more discord groups being built by collectors on Instagram and YouTube.

Discord groups are a great way to network and meet other collectors in the hobby.

Buy/Sell/Trade and learn more about sports.

You should join the Breakout Sports Discord.

What You Need to Know about Sports Cards

Both Short and Long Term investments

Depending on how you view cards, they can be both a short and long term investment.

I view them as both, and down below you’ll see my strategy

Short Term

Prospects, Rookies, and Low Tier hall of fame players are all short term investments.

Buy when they are cheap and before the general population catch on to their potential.

And sell when you see a big enough of a margin.

Unfortunately prospects and stars age.

And a player who is in the spotlight for a few years is forgotten.

Their card prices slowly go down and the buyers interested fade away.

Long Term

Superstars are always going to be a long term play.

Everyone want to collect the Mantle cards.

Everyone wants a lebron or a jordan.

That’s why the high end cards of superstars keeps on climbing month after month.

Outperform S&P 500

Since 2008 the sports card industry has outperformed the S&P 500.

So much, that if you bought into sports cards in 2008, it would be worth double the amount of money put into the stock market.

As long as they aren’t overproduced, cards are going to continue to rise in price. 

Most Popular Sports Brands

Three main sports brands dominate the market.

Topps, Panini, and Upper Deck

Check out this article that goes over them in more detail.


Topps today is a fraction of the empire it once was.

It mainly produces Baseball cards.

But it still has a little interest in soccer.


This is the largest player in the sports card industry.

Panini is virtually in every sport but hockey.

The main licensed ones are Basketball, Football & Soccer.

Upper Deck

Upper Deck is exclusively producing hockey cards now.

At one point it produced basketball and baseball.

But it now only focuses on hockey.

Most Popular Grading Companies

There are three main companies for grading.


PSA has been around the longest and is the most popular grading company.


BGS is becketts grading company. 

It’s up there with PSA but doesn’t command the prices psa graded cards do.

BGS and beckett are also closely associated with BCCG grading. 

So if you see a bccg card, it’s graded by beckett, but it’s not as desirable as a BGS.


SGC is growing in popularity.

As more and more delays happen in PSA and BGS, more collectors are flocking to SGC.

What Are The Most Popular Players/Cards


Mike Trout is the centerfielder for the Angels.

He’s won multiple MVP awards and has a ton of WAR.

Many people consider him the best player in the 2000s, and he hasn’t even turned 30 yet.

He’s on track to be a top 25 player in WAR for all time. Possibly better.


Soto is the player many assume is going to be the next Mike Trout.

He’s a young outfielder and has a high ceiling.

Before turning 21 he already won a World Series.

And he hits for both power and average.

At his age he also has a lot of WAR.


Regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time. 

He is a small forward, but can handle the ball like a guard.

Lebron is a leader and an amazing shooter and passer.

He has amazing overall stats and gets fairly close to averaging a triple double in his entire career.

Won 2 NBA championships with the Miami Heat and 1 with the Cleveland Caviliers

Lebron is a fan favorite that is popular worldwide.


 Luka is a young star. This is only his second year in the NBA and he is averaging 28 points a game.

He shocked the league as a rookie and has insane potential for the future. His cards have skyrocketed in price even though he is only a second year player.

If you can find his rookie card for cheap, you better buy it!


He won 1 super bowl in early 2020. Mahoomes has been a problem for NFL Defenses.

He also recently signed a massive contract with the Kansas City Cheifs. 

He is also a fan favorite and has room to grow for the future.


He is arguably the best Quarterback of all time.

Every team that was in the Patriot’s conference when he was there hated playing them because they were consistently good.

Brady has won six superbowls in his still ongoing career.

He is an absolute living legend.


He is fairly young and one of the best players in hockey right now.

His cards are a buy if you can get it for a fair price.

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