The sports card market has had a few good years of growth in recent times. Sports cards can certainly be a great alternative investment and in this article, I’m going to look at the reasons you should invest in sports card in 2022.
Online marketplaces like eBay have made it easier than ever to buy and sell items with people all around the world. It’s exciting to see the passion flowing once again for sports cards and i’m even more excited to see the potential explosion in card values, especially soccer cards, in the next few years.
Are Sports Cards Still A Good Investment?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that the sports card market is no different to other markets…
Markets can go up and markets can go down, and that’s true for a supply and demand orientated market like this one – no one can predict with 100% certainty what is going to happen.
Like any other investment, there is always some level of risk, and there will be price fluctuations along the way.
But the potential for further growth in the next 5-10 years is huge. With popularity rising (and therefore demand), values have far more room to move higher. Sports cards could well be an alternative investment to give better returns than something like an S&P 500 index.
I’m not saying sports card investing is a get rich quick scheme, I personally think the value will come from buying and holding over many years.
As always, spend time educating yourself before jumping in, there’s plenty of different strategies for sports card investing.
One strategy, which is how I approach sports card investing, is to buy icons to hold for 10-20 years as their value will grow over time (think Pele or Messi) – it’s a long term investment.
There’s also the short term option – buy cards and look to flip them for profit after a few months of holding. This works with rookies who could be about to have their breakthrough season… but the risk is higher with these types of cards, they might not reach the levels you expect, and so they don’t gain value.
Find the strategy that works for your risk tolerance and patience levels!
Anyway, here’s why I think sports cards are a great investment:
1. The next generation of card collectors are here
Sports card enthusiasts from the 80’s and 90’s now have kids – and that means we’ve entered a new cycle.
People are rediscovering their passion and enthusiasm for sports cards, and not only that, collectors who’ve returned to the market because of their kids likely have much more purchasing power than they did when they were young.
Video games like Madden Ultimate Team and Fifa Ultimate Team have already given the kids of today the taste of ‘packing’ their favorite player digitally – that sets them up nicely to move onto the real thing.
That rise in demand from new collectors and returning collectors will only send the values on limited cards higher.
2. The internet has made collecting cards easier and more popular than it’s ever been
Youtube, online blogs, social media and online marketplaces… Just the internet in general! Card collecting has become so much easier and accessible.
For example, people are watching their favorite youtubers or influencers creating content like a pack opening… this helps build some serious hype!
Collectors can educate themselves at a few clicks of a button and communities are being built online, connecting thousands of people from different parts of the world.
You can manage and track your investments or collection with software like Market Movers, a platform that I use. Tools like Market Movers have made it easier than ever to keep track of your portfolio of cards and analyze price trends. It’s great for seeing the price differences of cards within your collection while also having great market intelligence features.
3. Limited cards get harder to find years after release
Let’s take Topps soccer UCL living set as an example. Every Thursday they’ll release a new card, which often includes rookies, and you have a 7 day window to buy one.
Topps will then only print the number that was ordered in that 7 day window… and they’ll never do a reprint of that card again.
So let’s fast-forward 10 years and, as expected, Kylian Mbappe is one of the best soccer players of his generation, and maybe ever. Well his Topps living set card was printed only 402 times… when we talk about supply and demand, the demand would be huge for a player like this, but his supply for this specific card will never go above 402.
And that’s just one example, card manufacturers are creating scarcity with numbered cards and limited sets which will benefit investors long term… without a huge oversupply of certain items, there’s less chance of it ever exceeding the demand for them.
Graded cards also create more scarcity, these days many collectors want gem mint quality or close which often do not come in big supply – even hugely overprinted cards can be rare in the highest grade.
Why Could Soccer Cards Be A Great Investment Right Now?
Soccer is a global sport, and not only that, it’s the most popular sport in the world.
In my opinion, the whole soccer card market is underrated and undervalued – I think there could be a huge rise in certain cards in the next 5-10 years.
It’s also a sport growing in popularity every year in the US and let’s not forget the 2026 world cup will be hosted in America… The interest and hype around that time should really spike, and collectors will turn their attention to soccer cards.
At the time of writing this, some of the best ever players’ cards, like Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi are still low in value, for certain cards, in my opinion.
Example 1 - Cristiano Ronaldo 2003 Upper Deck Manchester United #13 Rookie Graded PSA 9:
Example 2 - Lionel Messi 2004 Panini Mega Cracks #62 Barcelona Rookie Graded PSA 9:
The 3 main reasons that I’ve listed above, why sports cards are a good investment right now, are enough to get me excited for the potential that sports cards have in the future.
There will be ups and downs in the market but by taking time to educate and pick the right cards, I think any risk can be massively minimized.