A highly anticipated Super Bowl matchup in a market that was hosting its first Super Bowl in 12 years combined to trigger a record turnout for the NFL Experience and Topps Super Bowl Card Show in Glendale, Ariz.
League officials said the six-day event attracted more than 200,000, easily surpassing the old record of 175,000.
“It was one of the best, if not the best, NFL Experience events,” said Pete Quaglierini, manager of the collectibles show for the NFL. “We had 35,000 attend for the opening weekend, which was a great number. We had 10,000 people come through in the first hour on the next Friday. That kind of traffic you don’t usually see until Saturday afternoon.”
Plenty of fans of both teams made the trek to Arizona for the weekend, but interest was also high from local residents, as well as the Southern California and the Las Vegas areas. Long lines of fans waited to enter the show on Friday and Saturday of Super Bowl weekend. Only fans with tickets to the game were admitted to the show on Super Bowl Sunday.
All three NFL-licensed card makers were on hand offering a variety of wrapper redemption offers, promotions and card giveaways. Topps reported strong sales of its special Topps Football Super Bowl XLII factory set. Alan Narz again hosted Pack Wars events periodically at the Topps booth, attracting throngs of loud and enthusiastic fans.
Long lines were wrapped around the spinning prize wheel at the Donruss booth all weekend, where the company offered various free rookie cards to everyone who spun the wheel. Donruss also showed off its new anti-counterfeiting technology created by Eastman Kodak.
“The excitement surrounding the game could be seen in the heavy attendance at the NFL Experience,” said Donruss marketing director Scott Prusha. “National Treasures hit that wheel and lots of collectors were buying boxes and opening them at our booth. It was a great show and very well attended.
The big attraction at the Upper Deck booth was the chance for fans to create their own trading cards. The company also gave away several of its All-Star Vinyl figures.
“A great show with great foot traffic,” said Upper Deck spokesman Terry Melia. “We had a lot of different promotions going on at our booth, and the response from the fans was great.”
Memorabilia items signed by players of the Giants and Patriots were among the best sellers at the exhibitor tables within the Topps Super Bowl Card Show. Unsigned mini-helmets and footballs were also strong sellers among fans who were looking to obtain signatures at the show.
More than 50 current and former players signed autographs throughout the weekend on the stage adjacent to the card show. A number of other players were signing at various corporate stages around the NFL Experience.
Upper Deck generated attention outside the NFL Experience grounds, hosting a Super Bowl party in Scottsdale that attracted more than 700 people, including Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and John Riggins, along with current stars Drew Brees, David Garrard and Braylon Edwards. The party received mentions on FoxSports.com and MSNBC.com.