As many of you know by now, the Spring Sport Card Expo is taking place this weekend as a “Virtual Expo.” Sure, you won’t be able to walk around a convention floor and sift through cards until your fingers are numb. We all miss that experience, but the promoters of the Sport Card Expo are giving us the next-best thing: the first-ever Virtual Expo! It will be an opportunity to meet other collectors, buy some cards and other collectibles, and hear special guests tell stories during panel discussions. If that wasn’t cool enough, the Virtual Expo is now free for attendees. Read on to learn about what you need to get the most out of this weekend’s upcoming “Virtual Expo.”
When is the Expo?
The Virtual Expo will be held on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20. Times are still TBA, but I believe it is 10 am to 6 pm EST both days.
What’s Powering the Expo?
The Virtual Expo will be powered by a platform called Hopin — it’s like Zoom, but for conventions. You can interact with dealers and other collectors. There are areas for collectors to network and talk to each other, and there are “booths” where you can purchase cards from dealers. I’ve had the opportunity to see and use this platform a few times, and it works very well. If you’ve used Skype or Zoom before, you shouldn’t have any problems getting around the Virtual Expo. Regardless, there will be staff on-hand to help anyone with technical problems.
What Do I Need?
In order to attend the Virtual Expo, you need either a smartphone or a computer with a camera and microphone.
Laptop computers have built-in cameras and microphones, so if you have a laptop, you should be good-to-go. If you have a desktop computer, you will need to borrow or buy a camera and microphone if you don’t already have one.
But a smartphone will work fine too, as it has a screen, a camera and a microphone.
How Do I Buy Cards?
Dealers at the show will have virtual booths. Basically, it’s like seeing an overhead floor plan of a convention, and you click on one of the dealer booths — they will be clearly labeled — so that you can “enter” the booth and see what they have for sale. You will also have the ability to narrow down dealers by what they are selling (i.e. vintage hockey, modern baseball, football cards from all years, etc.), so you won’t be just blindly clicking on booths and hoping the dealer has something you want.
Some dealers will have a camera pointed at their goods, while others will direct you to a link to their eBay store or other ecommerce store. (Hence the need for PayPal and eBay accounts…but every card collector already has those by now.)
Is Admission Free?
Yes. There are both free and paid tickets to the Virtual Expo. Free tickets get you access to the show, attend all guest Q & A panels and enter you in a drawing to win a jersey signed by Carey Price or John Tavares.
There is also a paid admission for $9.99 CDN that includes a $10 eBay coupon, a chance to win a jersey signed by Sidney Crosby and a chance to win a one-on-one video chat session with one of the guests.
Many dealers will use an eBay Store to list and sell their cards at the Virtual Expo, so the eBay coupon will come in handy that weekend. Click here for more about admission and to register for the Virtual Expo.
What if I Want to Sell at the Expo?
Click here to learn more about booth rates and how to register. Or, you can email email@example.com or call 1.888.466.7116 for more information.
Will There Be Guests?
Yes. Four guests will be at the Virtual Expo. Here are the times that they will be doing their FREE Q & A sessions:
Phil Esposito 2-time Stanley Cup winner, member Hockey HOF
Saturday June 20 at 3:00 pm
Friday June 19 at 1:45 pm
Saturday June 20 at 11:45 am
You can also purchase autographs or a “VIP Experience” to have one-on-one video chat sessions with any of these guests. See the Guests page at the Expo site for more information.
What Else is Planned?
Many of the big companies like Upper Deck, Ultra Pro, Frameworth and Beckett will be at the Virtual Expo. I’m not sure what these companies have planned, but they usually do something fun for Expo guests.
The main stage will have “case break auctions” as well as the aforementioned guest Q&A sessions.
Puck Junk will have a booth at the show to sell our t-shirts, and to talk with our fellow hockey fans. So, drop by our booth and say “Hi” to podcast hosts Sal Barry and Tim Parish (and maybe writers Jim Howard and Blake Isaacs, if their schedules permit.)
Sal and Tim will also do a live podcast from the Virtual Expo Main Stage, time and date TBA. Want to be a guest on our show? Head over to the Main Stage and have a question or something interesting to say and we’ll have you on 🙂
Squid and the Ultimate Leaf Fan, a podcast by The Hockey News, will also do a live show at the Virtual Expo, with guest Rick Vaive and Gary Leeman.
Overall, the first-ever “Virtual Expo” is shaping up to look like a great time. You’ll have a chance to buy cards and memorabilia and meet other collectors from around North America. You can register to attend the event here. ■