The Philly Show makes its return to the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA March 3-5 with a new management team in place. As we reported earlier this month, East Coast Sports Marketing is the new majority owner with Hunt Auctions maintaining minority ownership in the show which has roots in the area dating back to the mid-1970s. The show was once one of the hobby’s most popular three-day events for dealers and collectors, with big crowds turning out at locations in Ft. Washington and Willow Grove, PA.
Joe Drelich will now manage the show and the autograph guest list which next month will include Carson Wentz, Joel Embiid, Donovan McNabb and several other Philadelphia area notables past and present. His goal is for autograph lineups to serve as a complementary part of the overall focus on cards and memorabilia. He also hopes to increase the dealer roster.
After the upcoming March show, two more events will be held in 2017: September 22-24 and December 1-3.
We chatted with Drelich about taking over the long-running show.
SCDaily: What made you decide to purchase the majority interest in the show and take over the management?
JD: I never had thought of myself as being a show promoter, I have been on the selling side of the equation since the early 1980s, buying and selling vintage cards, autographs and memorabilia as my full-time job (if you can call it that) since 1996. A good friend of mine and his partners had purchased the CSA Chantilly show a few years back. We started discussing me becoming involved to help run the show side of things. We were able to enter into a partnership in 2016 and I took the lead role in running the CSA Chantilly show. We had a very successful year and It made me realize that despite eBay and the all mighty internet good old fashioned card shows still have a lot of life left in them. And that they truly are the lifebIood of the hobby. I enjoy shows, seeing the cards, interacting with like-minded people and socializing. It’s what the hobby has always been about.
In November 2016 I was at The Shriners Boston show, shopping for deals and promoting our CSA Chantilly show when David Hunt approached me about the Philadelphia Sports Card and Memorabilia Show (AKA The Philly Show). We began talks and I felt there was a very good opportunity to implement some of the marketing strategies I used down in Chantilly and have the Philadelphia show benefit from them as well. So it seemed like a good fit for me to grow my business and also give something back to a hobby/business that has been my full-time profession for over 20 years now.
What are your immediate goals for the show?
To make the event a great experience for dealers and collectors and have it operate at its fullest potential.
What changes will dealers and collectors notice about the show and how long will it take to implement them?
There will be quite a few changes made. Most will be fully implemented by the September show. One is to bring back at least one or more free autograph guest. We’ll have Bobby Shantz signing free on Friday at the March 3-5 show.
We will be lowering the dealer booth pricing for most booths by offering a “pay early and save” option. We will be lowering the weekend pass price from $21 to $18 (a 14% reduction). We will be raising the free admission age for kids from 8 and under to 12 and under. We will be adding door prizes, cash giveaways, free card packs to all kids 15 and under and have other random giveaways.
WIP 94.1 Sports Radio will be broadcasting live at all of the upcoming 2017 shows and we have an exciting marketing campaign with them for advertising this year.
Several years ago, there was a clause put into dealer contracts that kept them from doing nearby shows in the two-month period surrounding the Philly Show but I understand this will no longer be a requirement for anyone choosing to set up at the show. Is that correct?
Yes that is correct. Our dealers are welcome to do any show In the area.
What’s the most important thing promoters of any card show have to know about running a successful event?
To listen to what people want and do your best to provide it for them. That goes for dealers and customers. To never stop promoting, to create a fun and memorable experience so that when people discuss the event with friends, they think “wow, that sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll go with you to the next show.”
More information is available at PhillyShow.com.