There’s a new sports collectibles show hoping to capitalize on the summer Chicago market, and it just so happens to land two weeks before the National Sports Collectors Convention.
Welcome to the first annual FansEdge Sports Spectacular set for July 16-19 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention center in Rosemont, Ill., a big-time production that features a massive and star-quality autograph lineup, family activities and Price Rollback Friday.
Mounted Memories is handling the autograph portion of the show, with more than 50 athletes committed to attending. Top-grade guests include Cal Ripken Jr., Peyton Manning, Bill Russell, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Pete Rose, Dick Butkus, Brian Urlacher and Jim Brown. However, attendees will also enjoy appearances by Johnny Bench, Billy Williams, women’s soccer star Brandi Chastain, Jake LaMotta and Buster Douglas. The show will also feature a Super Bowl XXXI reunion of the Green Bay Packers (minus a certain quarterback) and three members of the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers roster – Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Jim Gantner.
“This year’s roster of athletes is certain to generate an enormous response,” said Mitch Adelstein, president of Mounted Memories. “We are fortunate to have some of the most beloved players from the past and present scheduled to attend, along with new enhanced features that will make the Summer Sports Spectacular one of our best shows to date.”
Free Thursday, Rollback Friday
Realizing collectors are still treading water in the slow economic climate, show organizers have come up with some creative ways to bring in top-notch talent at affordable prices.
“We have 15 athletes that are at signing prices that are half or less than their normal prices,” said Brian Schwartz, vice president of Mounted Memories. “The concept was today’s stars at yesterday’s prices. Everyone has got their stimulus plans these days and this was our stimulus plan to collectors to get some autographs at more affordable prices.”
Schwartz said some of the athletes agreed to taking less money, and in other cases, Mounted Memories won’t be making any money on the Friday signings.
Among the show guests for Rollback Friday are Jim Palmer ($29), Bench ($49), Dick Butkus ($49), Jim Brown ($79), Gordie Howe ($69), Billy Williams ($25) and many more.
“Friday will feel like a busy Saturday,” Schwartz said, adding that presells aren’t a factor any more because people now hold onto their money until they are at the show. He expects several hundred tickets will be sold for each athlete on Friday.
On Thursday night, not only will there be free attendance, but the first 1,000 people through the doors will receive a free gift, and 200 of those will receive a free Pete Rose autograph ticket. Thursday will also be White Sox night, with members of the current team joining Harold Baines, Joakim Noah, Rose and Bobby Hull.
Saturday and Sunday are nothing to sneeze at either. On each day, the first 2,500 people through the doors will receive a free gift and the first 200 will receive a free autograph ticket. Saturday’s free ticket will be for Dick Butkus, and Sunday will be for Gale Sayers.
The other free gifts given out during the weekend will be reward certificates from FansEdge ranging from $5-$200.
“We want people to feel like they are getting value in coming to our show,” Schwartz said.
With a concept of making this more of an event than a typical card show, the FansEdge Spectacular will also include a free interactive area aimed at kids that will include a nine-hole mini golf course, a moonwalk and a 75-foot obstacle course.
A corporate area in the center of the show will host Chicago-area minor league teams, the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, on-site grading by PSA and IUWA Wrestling, which will conduct live matches during the show on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a blood drive, with prizes given to donors.
Fans will also be able to meet some of seven members of the Negro leagues. For more information on who will be in attendance, visit www.negroleaguelegends.org.
“We’re making it more of an event, where the family can come out and spend an hour or two in the interactive area and then still walk around and meet with all of the dealers. After all, dealers are the heart of the show,” Schwartz said.
For more information on this event, call (800) 749-7529, or visit www.mountedmemoriesshows.com.