The National Sports Collectors Convention will return to Atlantic City, New Jersey in 2016. A recent vote by the show’s long-time exhibitors will bring the show back to the Atlantic City Convention Center for the first time since 2003. Dates for the show are August 3-8.
The facility contains 500,000 contiguous square feet of space and occupies a site of nearly 31 acres, making it one of the East Coast’s largest Convention Centers. It was built in 1997 at a cost of $268 million. It was the centerpiece of a multi-billion dollar Atlantic City redevelopment plan which included The Walk, a retail and entertainment complex
The show’s schedule is now set through 2018, barring any unforeseen developments. Other than the venture to the New Jersey shore in three years, it will take place in either Chicago or Cleveland each summer.
The vote for 2016 was between Atlantic City and another trip to Cleveland. Baltimore, which hosted the show in 2010 and again last year to generally positive reviews, won’t be hosting again anytime soon.
Some have clamored for the show to return to a different east coast city, the west coast or south but finding a sizeable venue convention at a reasonable cost has proven difficult. Chicago and Cleveland are centrally located for many who attend annually and the show is welcomed.
“We have size requirements now,” NSCC Director and Co-Founder Mike Berkus told Sports Collectors Daily in 2012. “Operating under 325,000 square feet would mean that many exhibitors would be shut out. Vegas and Atlantic City pose challenges on diversion of attention and attendance. Philly, New York, and Boston have financial and union issues that require exhibitors to have large increases in booth fees. Anaheim, San Francisco, and Boston will not host us without a cancellation policy that would kill advance travel and planning for all concerned. They want trade shows that require 8000 to 10,000 room night guarantees or they can cancel us without recourse. We are constantly researching and negotiating as many locations as possible.”
Atlantic City has an airport, but is served only by Spirit Airlines and Air Canada. Philadelphia’s airport is about an hour’s driving distance.
The NSCC annual schedule beyond 2016 includes:
2017 – Donald E Stephens Convention Center – Rosemont IL
2018 – International Exposition (I-X) Center – Cleveland, OH
Dozens of former athletes and coaches are slated to sign autographs during the show including numerous Hall of Famers. Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken Jr., Johnny Bench, Randy Johnson, Mariano Rivera, Tim Raines, Joe Namath, Barry Sanders, Julius Erving and Martin Brodeur are just a few of the names slated for the show.