(Feb 27. 2006) Despite some unseasonably cold weather, a record crowd turned out for the NBA’s 13th annual Jam Session being held through today at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston.
The card and collectibles area of the annual event proved to be a big hit with fans of all ages. The next generation of collectors came out in droves, with many getting reacquainted with the hobby and others getting their first introduction to it.
While the official attendance figures won’t be tallied until after today’s final day, NBA officials were extremely pleased with the traffic from first four days of the five-day event.
“Overall, the card show has been a tremendous success,” said Ken Seitel, NBA senior manager of trading cards and memorabilia. “The crowds continued to grow as the show progressed and the people of Houston really came out to support the show and that was great to see.”
The two NBA-licensed trading card manufacturers, Topps and Upper Deck, were both on hand to provide fans with a variety of cards and memorabilia items, with both companies reporting strong turnouts in their respective areas in addition to the entire card and collectibles area as a whole. Both companies offered wrapper redemption programs that included a healthy dose of this year’s top rookies.
“We haven’t seen a huge amount of card collectors here but everyone is getting into the routine of trading cards, our trading zone and buying packs for redemption,” said Upper Deck product manager Karvin Cheung. “Every year when we do this show it generates a lot of new excitement and new collectors. People are here for the basketball events but then as a sidebar, they go to the collectibles area and they get introduced to what trading is all about.”
The company’s Plinko game, which made a successful debut at the Super Bowl Card Show two weeks earlier, was also a hit with fans in Houston.
Topps has been aiming at mainstream fans in its basketball products with entertainment and music inclusions like Jay Z, which helps the company at shows like this.
“We had steady traffic at our booth the entire show and our new celebrity program we recently implemented featuring Jay Z was a big hit and drew a lot of excitement,” Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi said. “He was part of our redemption program and people are really starting to take notice of our celebrity lineup as well as our NBA players.”
Luraschi added that the card show had good traffic thanks to its locations.
“The placement of the card show in the center of the convention center was great and that kind of exposure is great for us and the rest of the dealers in the area,” he said. “Houston is a great basketball town with a great tradition and they have a good draw of superstars with Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming and the people really came out in support of the show and that was great to see.”
— Scott Fragale