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Are Sneakers the New Baseball Cards?

When my son comes home from school, the first thing he does while he eats his snack is log onto the GOAT app, or head over to StockX, and see the latest drops of sneakers. Kicks, as millennials refer to them today, are today’s substitute for the old school baseball card, where kids can trade, share, sell, attend shows on, yearn for certain models, and much more.

The core of anything that becomes extremely valuable is limiting its availability. And with that being the case, we are now living in a world where cards has become more available than ever. You cannot go buy cupcakes at Shop-Rite without being barraged with packs of cards, of every sport. And it’s not only Topps, or Donruss. It’s multiple companies with multiple style cards. It used to be just about rookie cards, or cards of your favorite team. And now, it’s about jersey cards, autographed cards, and yes, it still about rookie cards, although it’s impossible to know what company has the official rookie card. (For example, if there are 6 companies who make baseball cards, who owns the official Aaron Judge rookie card?)

At the same time, sneakers have gone all the way to the opposite extreme.  Release calendars allow sneakerheads to follow a schedule of when the latest “Drops” are coming out, but unless you get lucky on a SNKS or Yeezy Mafia app for example, you are left to pay full retail for the latest sneakers. This has created an incredible rage of access and “digital lines,” where young collectors will wait hours inside raffles, on apps, and on websites to hope they will get access to a drop at a minimal cost, allowing them to turn around and “flip” the kicks for double, triple, and even more money than could be imagined. And while brands like Nike have always dominated and been on most sneakerheads feet, the brands that has driven the latest craze is Jordans, which Nike is a partner in, and Adidas, who has used their pop culture influence and partnership with Kayne West to explode on the seen and drive word of mouth like never seen before in the sneaker industry. Adidas, and their sneaker guru Jon Wexler, have used their platform to develop the “Boost” technology, a sole in their sneakers which are astoundingly comfortable, and almost feel slipper-like. This move has forced the Nike’s of the world to go back into the lab, and search for more comfort while driving style, such as the new Nike 270’s.

In both the baseball card and sneaker industry, there is big money to be made. To that, the baseball industry needed something to standardize the industry, to have a common ground on what each card is worth. It is not good enough to answer anymore with, “the card is worth whatever someone will pay for it.”

Introducing Beckett, a price guide that puts “everyone on the same page,” and allows collectors a starting point to buy and sell.

What is the equal of the Beckett guide in sneakers? Enter StockX, a “sneaker market” of every shoe in the world, with a real time sneaker stock ticker, providing a true understanding of not the retail cost of a sneaker, but the true value on the street of a sneaker allowing sneakerheads to bid all day, every day on sneakers they want to buy, or sell, over the website. Buyers can bid on any pair they want, or just buy the bid out if the seller allows. StockX is the new Beckett, except you can actually buy and sell over the platform, not just understand the value of each pair.

In the next ten years, where will these two industries go? Will the sneaker world continue to go to places that nobody can even imagine? Will there be a new company in the industry that comes out of nowhere to drive activity? Will there be baseball cards in the future? What companies will own the space?

Here is what we know: kids are growing up faster than ever before, and having access to a phone in their hand allows them to google what is on the back of a baseball card faster than ever before. Meanwhile, as they save their allowance or online gaming money to get the latest kicks, and walk into school showing them off, everyone is talking about which Air Max or Yeezy you have, not which Bryce Harper or Chris Sale card you have.

Time to lace up and join the fun……..

Ryan Berger

Written by Ryan Berger

Ryan grew up in the world of media, where his dad founded the ad agency, MVBMS, and then went on to create Advertising Week and run Havas globally. Ryan's brother runs an ad agency downtown, and Ryan was always fascinated with marketing ideas that created buzz, but that didn't involve traditional media. Ryan comes from the media, and the world of ideas. When Ryan got out of school, he started The Berger Shop, a social and cultural marketing idea consultancy, to drive engagement between brands and their users, and to get the right people talking about his clients. Emphasizing the importance of conversation and word-of-mouth marketing, Berger created a new model of marketing by injecting brands into everyday culture. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies such as Jaguar, Jim Beam and Chobani to startups including Gulliver's Gate and Hotbox Sports. As founder and creative director of The Berger Shop for 11 years, Berger has always been passionate about staying ahead of the curve. Since beginning his career in influencer marketing over 16 years ago, he has preached the importance of user engagement to develop ideas that create buzz and serve as a catalyst for conservation about particular brands and products. Ryan was named one of 30 under 30 to watch by Adweek, and was on the cover of Adweek for the top ten most powerful media families across generations with his dad and brother with him. As word of mouth marketing continued to grow, Ryan became a liason between the advertising world and the world of culture, and Ryan was named a partner in the hot start up HYPR, the largest search engine in the world for influencers and celebrities. In that time, Ryan has been responsible for HYPR's partnerships with brands such as Pepsi and Microsoft, high profile agency wins such as DKC and 72 and Sunny, and their client, publisher Thrillist, which is HYPR's longest standing client. Ryan is a senior partner at HYPR, and works alongside the CEO to continue to help drive business and partnerships to the platform. In addition, Ryan teaches a new media class at NYU for the past 14 years, and hosts a marketing and sports podcast on ITunes called Inside the Berger Shop where he interviews media members, professional athletes, agency CEO's, and more. Ryan lives in Short Hills, NJ with his wife, Amy, and their three kids, Cassidy. Charlie, and Winnie. When he isn't convincing the world about the powers of influencer marketing, he can be found coaching little league baseball, AAU basketball, flag football, or asking his kids to get off their IPads.

Read more posts by Ryan Berger

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