Monthly Archives: February 2015

Think you can grade sports cards?

BGS is on the lookout for industry’s best grader at 2015 Summit

Think you have an exceptional eye for sharp corners, perfect centering and unblemished sports card surfaces? You’ll have the chance to prove it at this year’s Industry Summit.

Beckett Grading Services has agreed to sponsor the BGS World Championship of Grading: Professional Division at the 2015 Industry Summit trade conference, held March 15-18 at Tuscany Suites in Las Vegas.

Summit registrants from every class of trade – including retailers, distributors, licensors, manufacturers and service providers – will have the opportunity to grade a small sampling of sports cards during Welcome Ceremonies on Sunday, March 15. Industry professionals with the highest success rate in the preliminary round will then compete for the title of BGS World Champion of Grading during the Tuesday, March 15, business session.

“I am really excited about the World Championship of Grading event. There are a lot of quality hobby experts at the Summit so I am interested in seeing how good they are grading cards,’’ said Jeromy Murray, BGS Director. “This is also a great test run for what we have planned for collectors at The National Convention this year! Who knows, maybe we can find the next BGS Grader in Vegas.”

The completion is open to all Summit attendees, other than anyone employed by a grading service or any Beckett Media employee.

‘State of Sports Collectibles’ panel set

Summit’s opening discussion to feature Shaffer, Kaplan, Exarhakos, Martin, Rosenberg, Larry

The current state and short-term future of the sports collectible industry will be assessed during the 2015 Industry Summit’s opening panel discussion.

Organizers have assembled five compelling presenters from each of the Summit’s first five years to provide candid, unvarnished analysis of the primary marketplace for sports cards, autographs and memorabilia. The featured panel is scheduled Monday morning, March 16. Panelists include:

  • Victor Shaffer, executive VP at Fanatics Authentic

  • Angelo Exarhakos, president of Universal Distribution

  • Adam Martin, CEO of

  • Jeff Rosenberg, CEO of TRISTAR Productions

  • Evan Kaplan, Director, licensing and business development, MLBPA.

The session will be moderated by Adam Larry, the NHLPA’s Director/Licensing and Associate Counsel, and Kevin Isaacson, host of the Industry Summit.

“Our panelists have been heavily invested in the industry for more than 15 years,” Isaacson said. “Their combined expertise runs the gamut – online, shows, brick-and-mortar stores, group and individual licensing, distribution and manufacturing. We look forward to a very revealing discussion.”

Among the potential topics up for debate: The positive and/or negative impact of exclusive licensing agreements; the long-term viability of brick-and-mortar hobby stores in an increasingly online market; the prospect for revamped distribution models, including the direct-to-consumer channel; and a forward-looking snapshot at group breaks, through the prism of two decades of hobby experience.

Panelists will also have the opportunity ask questions of one another, adding a unique twist to the discussion. Summit attendees may also suggest questions/topics by contacting the co-moderators.

Layton, Calvanico, Richardson selected as co-moderators for key Wednesday Q&A panel

A successful trio of industry retailers have agreed to serve as moderators for the traditional Wednesday “no holds barred” Q&A with manufacturing executives at the 2015 Industry Summit.

The Wednesday Q&A session is a prime opportunity for retailer attendees to gain insight into manufacturer strategies and to target opportunities for industry improvement. Ken Richardson of Pastime Sports & Games, Mike Calvanico from East Coast Connection and Rich Layton of Layton Sports Cards have been selected as co-moderators for the 2015 Summit’s final panel discussion.

“These are challenging times for our industry, and it’s important to have a forum like this at the Summit to have tough questions asked and answered,” Layton said.

Per tradition, Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck will appoint executives from their Sales and Product/Marketing departments to participate in the panel. This year’s participants are DJ Kazmierczak and Jim Stefano from Panini; Clay Luraschi and Kevin O’Neil from Topps; and Grant Sandground and Mike Phillips from Upper Deck.

Summit attendees are encouraged to submit proposed questions to Calvanico, Layton and Richardson at any time during the conference, though the ultimate agenda will be set by co-moderators.