The annual NFL Experience and Topps Super Bowl Card Show drew an estimated 140,000 fans – many enduring heat, humidity and, at times, rain – during its six-day run over two weekends on the grounds of Dolphin Stadium in Miami. The crowd easily surpassed last year’s 100,000 attendees in Detroit, yet fell short of the event’s record of 175,000.
“It’s been a great show,” said Pete Quaglierini, manager of trading cards and memorabilia for the NFL. “The first weekend, there were more than 50,000 people, which is a great turnout. There were about 60,000 on Saturday, which traditionally draws the largest crowd.”
Added Topps public relations manager Clay Luraschi: “The place has been packed with people. South Florida is a great market for the Super Bowl. The NFL Experience just keeps getting bigger and better each and every year, and this one is just as good as past years.”
The NFL Experience offered many of the traditional fare: free autographs, interactive elements and relics from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Topps Super Bowl Card Show filled about 35,000 square feet, and there was plenty of heat inside the tents.
“It’s been a good show, and they’ve been buying everything,” said Mike Philpott of Home Run Sports, Inc. “Sales have been better than most past NFL Experiences, perhaps our best ever because football is on fire. The sport is on fire.”
The roster of free autograph guests included Archie Manning, Steven Jackson, Javon Kearse, Vince Young, Antwaan Randle El, Reggie Brown and others.
“It’s been a great show, though it’s been a little hot,” said Donruss senior football brand manager Ben Ecklar. “We’ve had a steady crowd and the show has been great exposure for the company. Everyone who comes to the Super Bowl isn’t always familiar with cards, so this show is a great way to expose cards to the masses, especially kids.”
“We’ve had a great turnout at the booth,” said Upper Deck’s Claudine Ricanor. “There was great traffic throughout. This show definitely has much more excitement, a lot more foot traffic, a lot of interest in collectibles than other years.”
McFarlane Toys sold all 5,000 of its commemorative Jason Taylor figurines at $15 each, which were only sold at the Super Bowl. “It’s a great figurine and they’ve been selling at a steady pace,” said McFarlane public relations manager Charles King
Mounted Memories sold its Certified Authentics – Super Bowl version at $40 each, featuring an 8-by-10 autographed photo of a past Super Bowl participant. Each pack included a chance for the Grand Authentic: a helmet signed by the first 35 of 40 Super Bowl MVPs.
Also doing good business at the show was Game Exclusives, the official source for game-worn memorabilia of the Bears, Seahawks, Cowboys and Redskins.
– Ross Forman, reporting from Miami