Trading Cards

The Trading Card industry is booming again. Find out what that means for teams looking for a high impact low cost giveaway.

The trading card world is back!  After a couple decades of over-production damaged the popularity of trading cards collecting cards is now on the rise again.

Eric Moskowitz recently wrote in the Atlantic, “Baseball-card collecting really ought to be extinct. It’s an analog hobby in a digital world, an expression of fandom in a sport whose attendance is in slow decline and whose cultural relevance is in free fall… but the hobby has not only persisted; it’s found effective, if peculiar, methods of adapting to an inhospitable environment.”

With this refreshed interest in cards teams have a renewed tool for game premiums, with a host of benefits.

  • Cards are incredibly flexible as a premium item.
  • Cards are inexpensive and have quick turn-around times, along with great imprinting options
  • Trading card designs can be placed in eras, making an effective giveaway for promotions like 70’s Night.
  • Cards can feature players, staff, military, first responders, staff, entertainers or team icons
  • Imprinting allows for sponsorship, team branding, information, stats, building information and links to online information (via web links or QR codes)
  • Trading card nights create opportunities for card traders, collectors and related businesses for concourse activations
  • Cards can be used as an eduction tool, since their designs are naturally akin to Flash Cards. Employee training, fan engagement or kids education are effective uses of cards
  • Graphic Designers will love this project, or you can utilize templates provided by some printers



With cards and card trading back in vogue, the perceived value of cards is increased making any card giveaway more attractive. Cards can be bundled and distributed to meet your goals. For example, you can use cards as a replacement for your pocked schedule with your season schedule imprinted.

Start a season set with a monthly card with all the December games posted. During the pandemic the typical times for advancing your schedule are shortened, so these quick-turnaround cards can help you create and promote your season promotional calendar as you go.

Teams have combined these card giveaways with player autograph sessions.

SEC Sundays (Kentucky Baseball)
Player Trading Cards Giveaway
Postgame Autographs

Inexpensive Giveaway

The low cost of cards make it hard not to utilize as giveaway items. They also have a wide array of imprinting styles and upgrades, including:

  • 14-16 point (thickness) paper stock
  • UV coating
  • Matte Finish
  • Spot UV coatings – Coating paper only in specific areas as opposed to all over coating. In a Spot UV job the job gets a UV coating in only specific areas and does not get any AQ coating in any other places. Spot UV can be referred to as spot varnish.
  • Full color imprinting on both sides
  • Linen stock variations
  • Pearl Metallic
  • Cards with AQ – Aqueous Coating (AQ): Used to protect and enhance the printed piece. Aqueous coating is applied to all 100lb gloss book and 100lb gloss cover.
  • Akuafoil cards – Akuafoil gives you a wide range of CMYK colors with a sparkling foil finish
  • Brown Craft Stock cards
  • Foil Laminate Cards –  The application of metallic gold or silver foil on paper using a heated die. The foil is adhered to the surface leaving the design of the die on the paper that creates a high grade, eye-catching result.
  • Silk and Suede Cards

Prices vary with your style and stock, but to highlight the low cost an order for 5000 cards (2.5″ X 3.5″ 16PT Trading Cards UV with 4-color printing on both sides) would be less than $200 delivered.

Turn around times are typically less than 10 days.

ERA Designs

Card designs are often easy to place with an era, either via the style of the art or if it mimics a popular design from a trading card company. This makes trading cards an easy addition to any ERA promotion.

For example if you have 1970’s night, a giveaway card in the style of a 1970’s Topps card featuring a player or your dance team in 1970’s style outfits can be an effective giveaway addition

Make a Star out of Anyone

Cards can feature players, staff, military, first responders, staff, entertainers or team icons

Cards are a great way to feature anyone and everyone in your organization. Teams have used cards in countless ways including.

  • Players and coaches
  • Team Legends
  • Military Heroes (perfect for Military Appreciation Nights)
  • Dance Team Members
  • Entertainment team performers
  • Ushers and Concession Workers
  • Team Front Office Members  (makes a great business card)
  • First Responders
  • Nurses and Doctors
  • Mascot

See our Water Cooler posts featuring cards and card designs:

Basketball All Stars

Fill Your Cards with Info

Imprinting allows for sponsorship, team branding, information, stats, building information and links to online information (via web links or QR codes).

With just 17.5 square inches cards pack a lot of punch. The high resolution full-color imprint gives you ample space for the primary image, logos and more.

Then you can fill your space with sponsorship, team history, engaging information and links to your online space.

QR codes are a popular way to drive traffic direct to pages.

A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. In practice, QR codes often contain data for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or application.

QR code

According to a recent survey by Statistia, in the US alone, an estimated 11 Million households will scan a QR Code in 2020. This is on an increase from an estimated 9.76 Million scans in 2018.

These codes can be included on your cards to direct traffic to an exact URL.

Opportunities for card traders, collectors and related businesses

As you start attracting fans who value cards then traders, collectors and card shops have added incentive to get involved. Concourse tables and pre-game card trade shows become more attractive.

Employee training, fan engagement or education

Cards present additional opportunities. Naturally akin to educational flash cards, they can be designed around educational games or initiatives to teach your sport. Cards have also been used for employee training, even as business cards for your staff.

The Perfect Creative Canvas

This is a Graphic Designers dream, allowing them a great creative project with endless opportunities.  They can model them after a popular card in the past or start fresh with branding elements from your team.  In addition many printers have card templates that allow to use professionally built templates and just drop in your hi-res photos and text.  Here is an example of a template from Custom Trading Cards.  So if you have a Police Appreciation Card, you simply add the photos, logos and text to this template and save the time of having to create an entire layout.

Here is a layout template for cards we use: TRADINGCARD-3.5X2.5

Use the FORM below if you are interested in more information, quotes or placing an order for a Trading Card Giveaway.

Some additional stories related to the resurgence in trading cards.

Don’t Call It A Baseball Card Comeback

Hobbyists, Investors Lead Trading Card Surge

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