After a one-year hiatus, the Premier Collectible Conference and Exhibition will return to Chicago in 2010. Dealers and collectors looking for a different kind of sports collecting event will be glad to know that the Premier Collectible Conference and Exhibition will be back on the show calendar in 2010. After its debut in the spring of 2008, show organizer Ryan Friedman took stock of what went right and what needing improvement and recently announced plans to bring the convention back to the Stephens Convention Center next year. The show will take place Thursday, April 22 to Saturday, April 24, 2010.
If you’re looking for a lengthy list of autograph guests, tiny booths and concrete floors, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The PCCE puts the focus on the dealers– offering larger booth space with a carpeted show floor–and provides the opportunity for collectors to ask questions in a panel discussion format. Several 45-minute sessions sprinkled over two days will again include topics like the State of the Industry, Autograph Authentication, Game Used Memorabilia Authentication, Sports Card Grading, as well as auction and retailing subjects.
The idea is to create more of a sports memorabilia industry conference with a card show in the middle. While the 2008 convention may have suffered from having been sandwiched between several other shows in the Chicago area in 2008 including the National Sports Collectors Convention, Friedman believes the PCCE will attract bigger crowds next year thanks to its unique approach.
He offers some new information about plans for the 2010 PCCE in a Q&A session with Sports Collectors Daily.
What’s the purpose behind the PCCE?
RF: The purpose is to have an exclusive collectible convention where top tier dealers, auction houses, authentication companies, and experts can gather in a professional manner to showcase their products and services to true collectors and offer both the attendees and exhibitors a chance to participate in comprehensive industry conferences.
For attendees, be it a collector, an individual who is thinking of collecting, someone who wants to buy items, someone who wants to sell items, etc, this venue allows a unique interaction between the attendee and the exhibitors in a professional manner. It also allows the attendees to learn, interact, and meet with industry experts to help better understand the collectible industry, all in a setting that is unlike anything currently offered.
For the exhibitors, it’s a venue that allows them to be the star attraction to attendees. They are given an opportunity to also learn, interact, and network with fellow hobby experts and outside experts that can help them with bettering their business practices. It also gives exhibitors a unique setting to conduct business with the attendees.
Why do you think the PCCE is different from other shows?
RF: The answer to this is ‘everything’ or at least ‘almost everything’. Other than the fact that attendees can buy, sell, trade and consign like they can at a card show, the PCCE event is completely different from anything in our hobby. From the look, aesthetics, web site, conferences, experience, interaction with industry experts, panel discussions, memorabilia and sports cards offered and exhibitors, it’s something that no other event or “show” in our industry offers.
I believe that when you watch the video from the first PCCE convention and you see what the exhibitors had to say, you can understand that the whole experience for is completely unique and different from what is currently offered in our hobby today.
What made you decide to start it?
RF: Simply, the current conventions or card shows are missing out on a more important aspect of what our industry is about. I care about the state, the perception, and long-term growth of our hobby. Our industry in no longer just made up of mom and pop collectors and dealers. Our industry consist of hundred’s of millions of dollars in sales and services per year and the manner in which we conduct our business, promote our hobby, and bring collectors together needs a drastic make over. So my vision was to create the Premier Collectible Conference & Exhibition to bring a new look to a great industry, and to bring back the face-to-face interaction that will drive our industry into the future.
What made you decide to skip a year and hold PCCE in 2010?
RF: When I did the first PCCE in 2008 I took a wait and see approach to see how to move forward with the next one. I want to make sure that I am able to offer and bring together all of the aspects needed to create a successful convention for both the attendees and the exhibitors. This being said, I felt that the best course of action to succeed in my goals is to have the PCCE in 2010.
What elements of the 2008 event got the most positive reaction?
RF: PCCE 2008 was great in every single element except for the overall attendance. Seriously, I am not saying this because this is ‘my convention’. Actually, if you ask any of the exhibitors or attendees how they liked the format, the program, the web-site, the quality of material, the conferences, etc, they would all say it was great. The element of the convention that I know needs improvement from 2008 is the attendance. Of course, 2008 was the first time doing this and you are always learning ways to improve but even with a smaller group of attendees I would still say that majority of the exhibitors still had a successful convention.
Also, as the PCCE has proven, this convention is not just about the buying and selling of sports collectibles, but also the networking and conferences. No matter if there is a huge attendance turnout or not, exhibitors and attendees are still given a great opportunity to partake in the conferences and panel discussions. Everyone has the opportunity to take away valuable information.
What new elements might be included this year?
RF: I am still working on finalizing some new elements for 2010, but in the works are some new industry panels and conferences for both the attendees and exhibitors. We are planning some major industry announcements. Admission will most likely be free for all days of the conventions, and there will be other unique opportunities for collectors to interact with the exhibitors.
How does a show like this benefit the hobby?
RF: The essence of PCCE 2010 is “Eye Contact…Your Most Underrated Skill Set. Sometimes, the more business you do face-to-face, the more business actually gets done.
Exhibit – Network – Learn – Sell – Experience – Buy.” The benefit to the hobby is that this event is not a “show” but a true industry convention and conference that brings together hard-core collectors, potential collectors, and companies in a unique environment that provides growth, interaction, knowledge, education, fun and camaraderie. It will help the public better understand why our industry isn’t just a “hobby” anymore, but rather a professional, well respected, business.
What are you doing to increase foot traffic to the show?
RF: We are currently finalizing some deals that will give the PCCE one of the most amazing advertising campaigns ever heard of in our industry. Plus, the free admission, possibly free parking, the guest speakers and exhibitors we will have, and some unique, valuable, and useful giveaways to attendees will also help bring in more foot traffic. Details of all of this will be announced soon.
Will the format be essentially the same, i.e., no autograph guests, etc.?
RF: Yes, but we are still discussing some new ideas and the possibility of added a autograph guest, but not in the way in which autograph guests are done at your typical card show. Again, more details will come out in the near future.