Author Archives: Kevin Isaacson

Panini, Topps, Upper Deck to headline new Licensor/Licensee Forum

Hobby retailers who attend the 5th annual Industry Summit in March will have an expanded opportunity to interact with industry licensors and their manufacturing partners, thanks to the Summit’s new Licensor/Licensee Forum.
“The Summit’s primary objective is fostering an exchange of ideas among all classes of trade,” said Kevin Isaacson, host of the annual industry trade conference. “The Licensor/Licensee forum will create numerous opportunities for our licensor partners and their licensees to address key issues and outline growth opportunities with more than 350 leading retailers from across the U.S. and Canada.”

The Summit’s licensing partners traditionally include NHL Enterprises, NHL Players Association, NFL Properties, Players Inc., NBA Properties, MLB Properties and MLB Players Association. Their licensees, notably trading card manufacturers Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck, are expected to play key roles in this year’s forum.

Among the Forum’s interactive formats: Solution Sessions (small-group brainstorming), multiple Q&A segments and sport-specific promotional development meetings.

“Early response from our licensor partners and their licensees has been very positive,” Isaacson said. “We believe this year’s Forum program will bring forward the very best ideas and opportunities – as well as creating increased collaboration among retailers and all of our industry partners.”

Gold River to host Group Breaker pavilion

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 16, 2013) – The sports card industry’s leading group break providers are partnering with Gold River Distributors to create an innovative booth display at the 2014 Industry Summit.

Gold River, based in Rocklin, CA, has agreed to host a Group Breaker Pavilion featuring a select group of the Hobby’s finest online breakers, live from the show floor throughout the sports card industry’s annual trade conference. Among the celebrity breakers who will be featured at the Gold River Pavilion: Firehand Sports Cards, STL Sports Cards, Ultimate Box Breaks, Cards Infinity, KenFudd Sports cards, Card Collector X, MojoBreak, Midwest Breaks and Cardsmiths Breaks.
“Group Breaking has been a huge area of growth as well as an integral part of our hobby industry, and we’re glad to provide a forum for the country’s best breakers to work their magic at the 2014 Summit,’’ said Wes Cagle, owner of Gold River Distributors (

“This newer and exciting niche to the industry has not only fostered a renewed passion for some collectors out there but has also developed a whole new set of collectors that it has captured by taking the good old fashion passion and nostalgia of card collecting and infusing it with today’s technology and delivering an exciting, fun, and affordable experience through the power of the internet,” said Gold River’s David Guisande. “Gold River has been working to provide unique services for the group break market since its emergence in 2010,” noted Cagle. In 2013, group breakers will comprise nearly 25 percent of all hobby-channel sales, in addition to delivering strong social media promotion for the sports card category, Cagle went on to say.

“In addition to promoting the industry’s best breakers at the Gold River Pavilion, we will utilize the Summit to work with our manufacturer partners and the breaking community to ensure continued success in this important growth area,’’ Guisande said.
For more information regarding Gold River’s plans for the 2014 Industry Summit, contact Guisande at 509-888-9467. For more information regarding the 2014 Summit, contact host Kevin Isaacson at 715-584-4939 or

Get ready! 2014 Summit is set March 16-19!

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 8, 2013) – Excitement is building throughout the trading card and collectible business for the 2014 Industry Summit, the annual conference for industry professionals.

The 5th annual Summit, set March 16-19 at The Orleans Hotel & Casino, will feature engagement from more than 500 leading retailers, distributors, manufacturers, licensors and service providers – unquestionably the largest industry gathering of its kind.

“The Summit brings our industry’s best and brightest together for four days of discussion, debate and business development,’’ Summit host Kevin Isaacson said. “It has truly become a ‘can’t miss’ event for anyone invested in the trading card and sports collectible business.’’

Among the Summit’s featured events:

·Sneak peeks at dozens of new products from licensed trading card and collectible manufacturers.

·Ability to engage with key league and player association contacts, including MLB, MLBPA, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, NHL and NHLPA.

·Sales-focused interaction with more than 400 key buyers, including leading U.S. and Canada distributors and innovative retailers representing 40-plus states/provinces.

·Expanded for 2014: The Summit “Tech Academy’’, during which retailers and industry leaders will expand their sales via social media, email marketing, online auction and e-commerce. Last year’s event featured key presentations from eBay, COMC, Amazon, Beckett Media and Constant Contact.

“You will learn so much, and hear so many great ideas, that it is impossible to implement it all right away,’’ said Rick Rollar, a leading retailer based in Pigeon Forge, TN..

Early-bird registration is available now through Jan. 15 at

5 questions with NSCC founder Mike Berkus

CHICAGO – With the 34th National Sports Collectors Convention just minutes away from launching its annual five-day extravaganza, NSCC founder and co-executive director Mike Berkus found time to answer “5 Key Questions’’ from Industry Summit host Kevin Isaacson.
Q. How has The National continued to expand its reach in the sports collecting marketplace, especially given the incredible growth of online buying, selling and social media information sharing?

A. We never take our eye off the goal – which is providing a great experience for everyone who attends. I attend Comic Con (because I watch The Big Bang Theory religiously – and yes, I wish The National got that kind of mainstream media coverage) – and Comic Con is a great example of an event that rolls out the red carpet and, every year, really thrills the people who attend. As you’ve certainly experienced with The Summit, even people whose business is 100% online find value in that once-a-year chance to meet in person and actually get to see and touch some of the most unique sports collectibles in the world. We try to make sure that this year’s customer has a great time, and wants to return next year with their friends. An event that can accomplish that will be successful for a long, long time.

Q. If you were attending The National purely as a collector, how would you spend your time?

A. I would immediately run through the entire show, scouring every table for items I might want to buy later. I would want to know exactly what was on the floor before trying to buy anything – and I would try to stay focused and seek my highest priority items, and try not to get derailed on Day 1. You know, just talking about it gets me excited. Some of the greatest moments of my life have been hunting for my collection – and The National is the greatest jungle that exists.

Q. The attendee make-up of The National has changed dramatically over the years. How would you quantify this year’s audience?

A. This is as diverse an audience as I can remember. The National has never been as widespread in terms of collector interest areas. As you know, the earliest Nationals were mostly focused on the collectors of 1950s cards. In the early 1990s, the new-card collectors searching for promo cards dominated. By the mid-1990s, the focus changed to near-mint, mint condition stuff that hadn’t yet been graded. There were fortunes to be made with cards that dealers had mis-graded. In recent years, there has been an explosion in interest in memorabilia and autographs. And now we are seeing a lot of renewed interest in the new card market, especially due to the case-breaking phenomenon. So this year’s audience is as diverse, in terms of collecting interests, as any we have ever had.

Q. In the week prior to the show, where did you invest your time?

A. 95% on local advertising and promotion. Our national audience has made their travel plans, so we’re really working the Illinois market. The response has been tremendous – and from all the indicators, I truly believe it’s going to be the best show we’ve had in quite a while. The two Baltimore shows set a benchmark … but this one is rolling in even higher. Attendance pre-sale is up 20% … room nights are up 25% … it’s going to be good.

Q. How do you evaluate the success of each year’s National?

A. I intentionally walk the entire show on Sunday, for the sole purpose of getting feedback from our exhibitors. I’m not looking for compliments – and as you know, our people are not shy. But if we are fortunate to have people stop us and say, ‘Hey, this was great,’ then we know we’ve done our jobs.

Panini’s big break … new COMC hire … fun Twitter follow


** PANINI’s BIG BREAK: In one of its many engagement opportunities at this year’s National, Panini America has partnered with 9 leading group breakers for a series of live breaks from the Panini booth this weekend. It’s a well-crafted promotion, for at least two reasons: The breakers’ positive impact on the new-card business, and their ability to immediately connect Panini’s NSCC presence with an international audience. The featured breakers include: Blowout TV, STL Sports Cards, FIrehand Sports Cards, MojoBreak, Layton Sports Cards, Ultimate Box breaks, Kenfudd Sports Cards, Cardsmith Breaks and Midwest Breaks. Firehand – generally recognized as the initial driver of the group break phenomenon – will have two break opportunities (one Thursday, one Saturday).

** CHECK OUT MARK …: Long-time industry exec Mark Anderson debuts in his new seller-advocate role with today in Chicago. Anderson – well-respected during his decade-plus leading the Beckett grading business – is positioned to be key lynchpin as COMC looks to expand current sellers’ offerings and expand its client base, particularly within the high-end market served by grading companies.

** FOLLOW-WORTHY: In the weeks since leaving the trading card business and relocating to Chicago, former Topps VP/Sports Mark Sapir has been a compelling presence on Twitter. His commentary on products and promotions, and occasional engagement with industry insiders, is definitely worth a read. Check it out: @MarkSapir.

ESPN’s ‘Mint Condition’ creates exclusive Summit segments


ESPN’s Michele Steele & her crew filmed several segments of their popular “Mint Condition” show during the 2013 Industry Summit. The link below features Steele interviewing Panini VP Jason Howarth regarding the company’s just-announced exclusive autograph agreement with Stephen Strasburg. Steele also interviewed industry execs Adam Martin (, Brian Bayne (Panini Authentic), Chris Carlin (Upper Deck), Brian Gray (Leaf Trading Cards) and many more during our March 17-20, 2013 event.

Press Pass creates exclusive Rookie Football promo for 2013 Summit

Press Pass creates exclusive Rookie Football promo for 2013 Summit

LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2013) – Press Pass, celebrating the release of its 2013 Press Pass Rookie Football product, has agreed to an exclusive agreement with the 2013 Industry Summit.
Under terms announced today, Press Pass will create Summit-exclusive cards featuring five top draft prospects: QB Geno Smith (West Virginia), QB Matt Barkley (USC), LB Manti Te’o (Notre Dame), RB Eddie Lacy (Alabama), and RB Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina). The cards will be distributed to hobby retailers during the Press Pass “Meet the Industry” session (Tuesday, March 19, Las Vegas), heightening excitement for Press Pass’ release of its Rookie Football product the next day.
“We are excited to provide retailers who attend The Industry Summit with an opportunity to open the first Press Pass trading card packs and also an exclusive bonus pack,’’ said Tom Farrell, Press Pass’ VP of Brand Management. “These rare and exclusive cards will add excitement to both the Industry Summit and Press Pass Rookie Football.’’

In addition to a pack of 2013 Press Pass Rookie Football, each qualifying retailer will receive a blind-wrapped one-card pack containing a Summit-exclusive base parallel card of Smith, Barkely, Te’o, Lacy, or Lattimore that features an “Industry Summit 2013” foil stamp. Press Pass is creating three blue foil-colored versions of each player’s promotional card, sequentially numbered to 35, 15 and 1 – and will also randomly insert an exclusive autograph card (#’d 1/1) of each of the five players among the blind-wrapped packs.


Sportkings, Famous Fabrics, In The Game announce Summit plans

Sportkings, Famous Fabrics, In The Game announce Summit plans

LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2013) — Dr. Brian Price will be bringing his three trading card companies to the 2013 Industry Summit in Las Vegas. Sportkings, Famous Fabrics and In The Game will each have unique offerings for retailers at this year’s Summit.

“We are consistently looking for ways to work with retailers to grow their business and the Industry Summit has become an integral part of our strategy,” said Dr. Price.

Every retailer attending the 2013 Industry Summit will receive an exclusive gift from one of Dr. Price’s companies. Details on how to redeem the gift will be found inside the 2013 Industry Summit retailer welcome bag.
Visit the Sport Kings booth to get your exclusive first look at the upcoming release of Sportkings Series F. Retailers who order Sportkings Series F at the Summit will receive a special bonus that is only available to registered retail attendees — 1/1 Made To Order Art/Memo cards from Sportkings.

Visit the Famous Fabrics booth to get your exclusive first look at the upcoming release of Famous Fabrics Ink – Horrors of War II. Retailers who order Famous Fabrics Ink – Horrors of War II at the Summit will receive a special bonus that is only available to registered retail attendees — 1/1 Made To Order Art/Memo cards from Horror of War II.
Visit the In The Game booth to get your exclusive look at the upcoming release of Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition. Retailers who order Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition at the Summit will receive a special bonus that is only available to registered retail attendees — 1/1 Made To Order cards from Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition.

Pack your favorite jersey! MagX’s “Tailgate Party” returns to 2014 Summit

Retailers sporting their favorite team’s apparel will qualify for bonus prizes

LAS VEGAS (Jan. 13, 2014) – When is an Cam Newton jersey, New York Yankees jacket or even a Chicago Bulls t-shirt appropriate apparel for an industry trade conference? During the highly-regarded “Industry Tailgate Party’’ hosted by Magazine Exchange and its manufacturer partners during the 2014 Industry Summit!
Magazine Exchange, a leading wholesale distributor based in Grants Pass, OR, made a huge impact in 2014 by inviting retailers from across the U.S. and Canada to don their favorite team’s apparel and attend an Industry Tailgate Party. MagX owner Roger Barry has confirmed the Tailgate Party will return again in 2014 – with even more prizes and surprises in store.

“We had a blast at last year’s Tailgate Party,’’ Barry said. “We received so many positive compliments from retailers and our suppliers that we knew we just had to do it again.’’

The 2014 MagX Tailgate Party will be held Monday, March 17. All Industry Summit attendees are encouraged to wear apparel from their favorite player or team to Monday’s business session – jerseys, jackets, t-shirts, hats and even helmets are welcome. The most creative, innovative and unique “team colors’’ outfits will receive bonus prize entries into the Tailgate Party giveaway – featuring great gifts from MagX’s industry leading lineup of suppliers. Retailers will earn additional prize entries during a special MagX “team contest’’ during the Tailgate Party – and savvy retailers will be able to qualify for special “early-bird’’ prizes by visiting MagX’s booth when the Summit show floor opens Sunday, March 16.

“It will be a fun way to share our love of sports – whether it’s baseball or basketball or minor-league hockey or professional wrestling,’’ Barry said. “I can’t wait to see what everyone will be wearing as they enter the Tailgate Party – it will be a great conversation starter, and will set the table for some fun prizes throughout our event.’’
In traditional Tailgate Party fashion, MagX’s luncheon will feature burgers and hot dogs with all the fixings, as well as onion rings, salads and much more. For more information on the Tailgate Party or other Industry Summit events, contact Summit host Kevin Isaacson at

Peach State Sports launches ‘3-for-3 with RG III” promotion

Peach State launches ‘3-for-3 with RG III’ promotion

LAS VEGAS (March 6, 2013) – Peach State Sports will launch an innovative “3-for-3 with RG III’’ promotion in support of Panini’s upcoming NFL trading card products at the upcoming Industry Summit.

Peach State customers who purchase at least one case each of 2013 Panini Score NFL, 2013 Panini Prestige NFL and 2013 Panini Elite NFL will receive an autographed Robert Griffin III Redskins jersey as part of the package. The offer will be available to the 270+ retailers who will be attending the March 17-20 trade conference, as well as Peach State Sports’ customers across the country.

“We’ll be promoting this big-time at The Summit,’’ said Peach State Sports’ Ashlee Miller.
There is no volume limit to the promotion. Peach State will deliver the autographed maroon Griffin III jerseys along with the Elite NFL case shipments, giving retailers plenty of time to plan and execute in-store promotions. Retailers interested in reserving their cases can contact Peach State Sports at 800-756-2601 or visit the company’s Home Base booth during the March 17-20 Industry Summit.