Survey says kids collecting more

For the second year in a row, a survey has found that the percentage of young boys collecting sports cards has increased. KidSay Tracker, a monthly report created to monitor the spending habits and trends of youth respondents, found that more than 40 percent of boys surveyed said they collect sports cards. That’s up from a response of 28 percent in last year’s survey and only 9 percent in 2005.

The results certainly suggest the industry’s increased investments in advertising and marketing programs aimed at youngsters are having a tangible impact. The most significant investments in those efforts have been made by baseball card licensors and manufacturers.

“The increase in new kids collecting is a direct result of the effort put forth by Upper Deck to reach this group,” said Kerri Stockholm, director of marketing for Upper Deck. “We have shown our commitment to bring in youngsters by implementing several multi-tiered, multimillion dollar advertising, promotional and sponsorship campaigns for the past two baseball seasons.”

Mark Sapir, director of kids marketing for Topps is also excited about the findings.

“We have worked to make our products more relevant to kids and spent millions of dollars to create awareness and generate trial usage among kids, and it appears to be working. We have seen a steady increase in the number of kids collecting and have built a strong community that should only expand.”

Upper Deck’s Kids Rewards loyalty program, which allows kids to register codes from the back of their cards online to earn points that can be redeemed for prizes, continues to attract an impressive amount of traffic. The company reports it has signed up more than 170,000 youngsters, and that group has redeemed more than 2 million cards.

The latest TV campaigns sponsored by the MLB Players Association just concluded. The organization has also invested resources into its Cub Scout hobby store initiatives, where Scout troops or other youth groups can arrange to visit local card shops for educational presentations about card collecting and receive free cards to get their collections started.

In addition to the increased advertising efforts, Major League Baseball has worked to increase the visibility of trading cards within MLB ballparks and team merchandise outlets.

“Programs at MLB team stores show baseball card sales have increased significantly each month of the 2007 campaign and have surpassed the sales totals for 2006,” said Daryl McKay, president of Sports Images, the company that handles trading card distribution to those outlets.

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