The Los Angeles market may have a lot of people, but Mike Berkus’ big job was convincing them to come to the National Sports Collectors Convention.
He was there for the first one and Mike Berkus is still around as the dirt is thrown on the 27th National Sports Collectors Convention. Tired, proud and already thinking ahead to next year.
It’s life as the co-Executive Director of the National, an unusual combination of show and showcase for the sports card and memorabilia industry.
“We spent 240% more in advertising and marketing this time because we weren’t satisfied with the last two Nationals in Anaheim in 1996 and 2000. It’s a challenge for us to find the style and what’s required to succeed in each market. We advertise heavily in southern California because they’re are a lot of diversions here. We’re not the big fish.”
He lives in the area so when the hobby’s big event comes to his home area, he feels even more responsible for it’s success. “We know there are about 20,000 hard-core collectors who will come no matter where the show is. The challenge is to get the sports fan who’s not a collector in here,” Berkus said in an interview at the National.
No attendance records were broken and there was plenty of room to move around in Anaheim. Yet the concensus among several dealers was that while SoCal crowds are sometimes small, the collectors who do come usually spend their fair share of cash. “The pre-sales of this show exceeded any show by 40% which was a good indicator that our marketing had worked. It’s higher than any of the 27 shows before,” Berkus said.
“The National Convention Committe reviews the site selections and everything that goes with it,” explained Berkus. “We do the research but the dealers then vote on where they’d like to go. There’s no city large enough to host this convention that we don’t review and put the dealers to a vote.”