Basketball, football, baseball, soccer. Sometimes hockey. You already know which sports are the kings of cards. They’re the ones you see ripped every night on Loupe. That’s not going to change anytime soon. That stranglehold will remain for the foreseeable future.
But, some sports are rapidly ascending in popularity. There’s a direct correlation between how popular a sport is, and how coveted its cards are. That may seem like a no-brainer, but fans are the ones who become buyers. That’s why these are some sports and leagues who are the next candidates to blow up as card collecting expands in all directions.
Golf is one of the few activities that thrived during the pandemic. It afforded people the opportunity to be social outside with a good amount of distance between everyone. Ask any lifetime golfer and they’ll tell you the links have been much more packed in the past year.
This surge in popularity has more people watching professional golf. That means more people are buying golf cards. Helped along by a high-profile HBO documentary about Tiger Woods, golf is hot right now. Two big golf products release in May: Upper Deck Artifacts and Game Used. Don’t be surprised if prices take a bump shortly after they launch.
F1 kind of fits right alongside soccer in that it’s immensely popular overseas but not so much in the United States. That’s changing as the world’s premier racing league is getting its due credit stateside. It’s probably in part thanks to the immensely popular Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive.
Topps Chrome Formula 1 Racing just launched, and it has sold very well on Loupe. Topps Dynasty Formula 1 Racing releases later in the summer and will feature some incredibly cool memorabilia cards (like gloves, zippers, and nameplates). F1 is approaching top speed and it doesn’t look ready to slow down now that it has momentum.
There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future of the WNBA. It seems as though the league is finally finding its footing 25 years in.
As this Forbes article lays out, the WNBA saw a significant boost in viewership. Not only are television ratings up, but there’s a lot of social momentum around the players and the causes they support. WNBA players are turning people into fans through their online presence. At a time when basketball couldn’t be any hotter, it’s driving people to check out the WNBA.
However, it seems like Panini doesn’t have a WNBA product lined up for the immediate future. 2021’s Prizm is expected to launch in October. When it does, expect WNBA prices to be at an all-time high.
UFC has gone through peaks and valleys throughout the years. The era of Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz saw business booming. Later in the 2000s, not so much. Mixed martial arts is a sport that runs on superstars.
Ever since Conor McGregor captured the fascination (or ire) of everyone, the UFC has been on an uphill climb to the moon. Add in a highly-visible partnership with ESPN that ensures a televised event nearly every weekend, and UFC has made a lot of fans over the past year or two.
That’s going to directly result in more Panini UFC card sales, especially now that Dana White and company are better at turning the most dominant fighters into superstars.