MLBP summarizes the market

29 01 2009

My favorite part of the MLBP/Donruss lawsuit is subheaded “The Baseball Card Trading Market.”  It’s only a few paragraphs long, but there are a few interesting tidbits such as this summary of the trading card world:

18.  Notwithstanding the importance of the trading card market, the overall trading card market for the four major sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), has been steadily declining for many years, falling at approximately $1 billion at it’s height to approximately $200 million at present.  In addition, the market share within the trading card market for Major League Baseball licensed cards has decreased over the years from approximately 75-80% in the mid-1980’s to roughly 15-20% of the total market (including non-sports trading cards) as of today.

Anyone know when that peak was?  I’ve found an article that suggests it was 1996, but that article also values the market in 1997 at $400 million, which seems like an incredibly steep drop, especially with the introduction of game used cards that year.  I wasn’t in the hobby then, but I can’t imagine that was a colossal failure, was it?

And I’m curious, does any one else find this stuff as interesting as I do?




3 responses

29 01 2009
night owl

Oh, it’s interesting.

I find it interesting that the market peak was around the late ’90s when so many bloggers weren’t in the hobby during that time period. Although I don’t know how accurate of a sample size we are.

29 01 2009
Chris Harris

In 1991 the five MLB licensees (Topps, Fleer, Bowman, Pinnacle Brands, and Upper Deck) sold over $1 billion worth of baseball cards.

29 01 2009

Chris –

That would make a bit more sense. Any idea how long the $1 billion dollar run lasted, or was it done in ’91? ‘Cause I can’t believe that ’96 was such a banner year in the industry, with or without my presence in it.

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