Fanatics Live Launches From The National
Fanatics Live celebrated its official launch at The 43rd National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, Illinois! Transitioning from beta to a full launch, Fanatics Live showed up in force at The National, with a ton of in-person and virtual programming for collectors all over the world.
While fans stopped by to witness first-of-its-kind programming at the Fanatics Live booth, others tuned in from home to get in on the action. On the floor of The National, Fanatics Live employees got to dive into the energy firsthand and shared the experience of launching an app while participating in the Hobby’s biggest event.
Andrew Eckert, Director of Business Operations; James Kollar, Sr. Director of Marketing; and Fanatics Live host Scott Rogowsky wore both professional and fan hats at the conference, giving them unique perspectives on Fanatics Live’s immediate impact on the hobby. We asked them about it.
How was your experience at The National as a Fanatics Live employee?
Andrew Eckert: As an employee, there’s suddenly ownership of the brand as well. It’s also a great time to meet connections you made around the industry as seemingly everyone is at the event.
Not my first National, but it felt like there were many more people, especially kids than I’ve seen in years before. We now know this National set an all-time card show attendance record.
James Kollar: It was my first time at The National, and first time at a hobby/card show in general. I was blown away by the number of people (which makes sense as it was the highest attended card show in history), but what was most interesting was that the busiest days were Thursday and Friday. It highlighted the passion folks have to get in there and find the best cards and deals early.
My expectations were exceeded to be honest, the sheer size of the space made it feel like there was always something more to see. Sunday was the day I was able to get out and around to really look at shops and buy some cards. I spent four hours Sunday trying to hit as many shops as possible and I could have used twice as much time.
Scott Rogowsky: This was my 4th National, but it was the biggest I'd ever seen — and definitely felt that way. There was an entire other half to the convention that I didn't even know about until the 3rd day — that's how big it was.
Being there as a Fanatics Live employee was a different experience. The respect I got from vendors wearing the Topps lanyard was palpable! In fact, one dealer asked me if I would trade my Topps lanyard to replace his Panini Prizm one...
What was the best panel you saw or conversation you had?
AE: Not a panel or conversation, but seeing kids with their parents and grandparents made it abundantly clear how special this hobby is.
JK: For me, it was talking with the MLB licensing team about how excited they are by how much the collectibles and card space continues to grow. It really emphasized how many organizations are really investing into the space and fostering its development.
SR: I had a great convo with Kevin O'Neil at Southern Hobby, formerly Director or Hobby Sales at Topps, about setting up an industry ombudsman/board of governors. A group that self-polices the industry, punishes bad actors, and brings all elements of hobby together to pursue advocacy and best practices.
What was the coolest collectible you saw?
AE: A 1952 SGC Mantle – seeing high grades of these never gets old.
JK: A life-sized Aaron Judge bobblehead.
SR: The 30 Gem Mint PSA 10 MJ rookies at the Probstein booth were wild. He has 30 of the 318 copies that exist!
What are people asking about Fanatics Live?
AE: Sellers are asking, “When can I get on the platform and start selling?” Others are asking for help with Fanatics or Topps things, not understanding the difference between our brands.
JK: 1. When will Fanatics Live be available to other countries and on Android? 2. Where else will it show up Live next, like the All Star Game and The National activations.
SR: HOW CAN I START SELLING ON THERE????
Haha, everyone wants to get on!
Editors’ Note: Fanatics Live is continuing to vet and approve qualified Sellers to maintain the integrity of the platform’s Trust and Safety policies. Advice for Sellers? Keep building up a positive reputation among fans and growing your social channels! The Android and web versions of Fanatics Live are in the works.
What was your favorite piece of Fanatics Live programming?
AE: Michael Rubin x Gary Vee’s program; the stage had such an energy to it.
JK: It doesn’t get better than Allen Iverson chasing Michael Jordan rookie cards. Not only was the concept cool, but it’s rare to get a professional athlete to look like they are having an authentically good time for an hour long show – Fanatics Live was able to achieve that all while making it super entertaining.
[Scott Rogowsky abstained from this question. We didn’t ask why.]