It wasn’t even on the radar when the show was getting started back in the early 1980s, but the National Sports Collectors Convention is now also known as the hobby’s biggest autograph event. Dozens of current and former athletes, coaches and even a few actors are scheduled for stints during the five-day run.
Some have signed at the National before but interest remains high enough to bring them back. Others are making their first appearance. There’s a bit of a Cleveland flair—and one big baseball name who’ll be competing against the hometown team is turning out to be a huge draw.
Tri-Star Productions is once again handling all aspects of the autograph pavilion at the 39th NSCC. Company President Jeff Rosenberg, who began booking guests for shows as a young promoter back in the 1980s, took time for a Q&A before heading to Cleveland.
SCDaily: Tell us a little about the interest level in this year’s show from an autograph perspective. How are pre-sales going? Any players who have exceeded expectations?
JR: The interest level is extremely high. This might be the most anticipated autograph pavilion in The National’s history. With almost 150 autograph guests including Hall of Famers, All-Stars, current and former stars, and legends in their sports this will be a show that will be remembered.
Pre-sales are going great. We have a strong marketing effort that began months before the show begins. We utilize all types of local and National marketing including social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
As far as successful player sales, it is not a surprise that Albert Pujols is selling extremely well. He is the most popular, current superstar in our lineup. Current Cleveland Indians including Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor are also doing exceptionally well plus former Indian and newest Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome will be a big draw. The people of Cleveland are excited to meet these players. We recently added Hulk Hogan to the lineup and people are thrilled for the opportunity to meet him as well.
SC Daily: It’s a big lineup this year–where does the quantity of signers rank in terms of recent Nationals?
JR: This show will have the largest number of autograph signers in the 38 year history of the National.
SC Daily: When creating a lineup for the NSCC, what factors go into determining which players or agents you’ll approach?
There are many facets to this including anticipated demand by the specific market, national interest, availability of the talent, proximity of the talent to the location. For example, we have 52 Football Hall of Famers attending as the football Hall of Fame induction is the same weekend in nearby Canton, Ohio. We have 30 baseball Hall of Famers attending the National as the Baseball Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown is the weekend prior to the National and they will come to Cleveland the next week providing National attendees the opportunity to meet them and receive autographs from the newest Hall of Famers including Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer.
SC Daily: Talk a little about the logistics of bringing in so many athletes. How do you make sure it goes as smoothly as possible and what are some of the challenges your staff has to deal with?
JR: Our 31 years of experience producing the highest end sports memorabilia shows provides us a tremendous advantage as we know the expectations of the customers, the players and their agents. Our goal is of course to provide a great experience for all involved.
Our team of experts has well over 200 years of experience running the autograph pavilions so we are prepared for nearly every situation that can arise. We are balancing nearly 150 signers plus their agents with their schedules, transportation, hotels and there are always last-minute changes we have to deal with including flight delays and cancellations, poor weather in parts of the country. Our focus has always been providing collectors with the best possible experience and we work extremely hard to achieve perfection.
SC Daily: Any changes to the autograph pavilion and process of obtaining autographs that collectors may notice this year?
JR: We have a little better set up in terms of a smoother line and hopefully shorter wait times. Of course our Platinum Express Pass holders have the best deal with the shortest wait times followed by the All Access VIP members. I highly suggest our customers coming to get autographs from multiple players have a VIP package especially the All Access for those wanting to see seven or more players. We strongly suggest purchasing autograph tickets in advance.
All up-to-date information on the TRISTAR Autograph Pavilion can be found at Tristarshows.com or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (search TRISTAR Productions).