Effect of NFL Player Movement on the Fan Base
By Thomas Adams aka Cardncasebreak
Do you have a favorite sports team? Think about your favorite player on that team. Now imagine you just found out that they have been traded, retired early, or entered free-agency unexpectedly. How would you feel? Upset, relieved, happy, sad, angry, or just plain frustrated? You have that feeling? Now, also imagine you are an avid sports card and memorabilia collector. You have collected all the cards, autographs, jerseys, and memorabilia from your favorite star. But now he/she is moving to another team. Does this devalue the current memorabilia? Or the future team gear? Let’s take a look at a few past and recent transactions that may or may not have an effect on specific player relics.
Of course we would talk about Peyton Manning. He is arguably the largest free-agency release and pickup of any team ever in the NFL. Once the face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise he is now the soon-to-be starting Quarterback of the Denver Broncos. How are most fans going to react? What will collectors think about his old/new cards? Will Colts fans cherish the memorabilia they have from his tenure in Indianapolis? Will his cards/autographs in a Colt’s uniform be more valuable? Will his Denver Broncos cards and memorabilia be worth more because his tenure there will be understandably shorter, thus making the amount of items available much smaller? Or will they embrace the new face of the franchise (many believe this will be Stanford’s Andrew Luck)? On another note, what will Denver fans think? They just had an up and down year with new Quarterback Tim Tebow. He definitely played a different game and drew a huge fan base in Denver and throughout the country. Often toted as, “…the guy I would want my daughter to marry!” Do fans in Denver embrace their new quarterback in Peyton Manning, or still hold on to the Tim Tebow days they relished only a few short months ago? Tim Tebow cards flew off the shelves and sold like hotcakes on bBay and other auction sites less than a year ago? Will this trend continue, or will fans and collectors alike lose interest?
One can say that both quarterbacks left a legacy and a mark on the teams they played for at the end of the 2011-12 season. Peyton Manning’s legacy lasted 14+ years, while Tebow’s lasted just under a full year with the recent NFL lockout. Will fans this year be more focused on Peyton Manning in Denver? Or will they feel they have been slighted and silently root for Tebow’s success in New York with his new team, the Jets. This will be up to the fan and the collector. Some will reason that the players original team is where the legacy started and thus automatically makes the cards and memorabilia worth more. Others will argue that that either team can be weighted the same and it will be up to the individual collector to decide. What are your thoughts? Has this already happened to your team in years past? What if it had nothing to do with free-agency or trade of a player?
Everyone who has watched football in their lifetime know this name. He is one of the greatest rushers in NFL history. Only two people have more career rushing yards than his 15,269. Those two players are Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. Two NFL Legends. But, in 1999, Barry Sanders decided that he would unexpectedly retire from the NFL even though he was still healthy, running great, and within striking distance of Walter Payton’s rushing record (16,726 yards). His retirement came as a surprise to most, except maybe those in the Lions organization. Apparently there had been some “bad blood” between Sanders and the leadership which caused him to lose his “love for the game”. Thus his early retirement. Imagine being a Detroit Lions fan and hearing that just two years after signing a 6 year, $35.4 million contract that your star running back retired. Although this situation is far different from that of Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow (they went to different teams), the fan and collector situation remains the same. Some may argue that his cards and memorabilia are worth more because he is now retired. Imagine for a moment that he broke the all-time rushing record before his retirement. What does that do to the value of his items? But also imagine that he didn’t break the record with the Lions and had been traded to a different team. Are his items worth more with the team where he broke the record, or for the team where he compounded 15,000+ yards?
Keep in mind this is merely two examples of what effect transactions in the sports world can have on fan base and collector interest. The views on what is better or worse for a team, card, jersey, or fan will only be decided by time. Some day we will know if a Tebow card in a Jets uniform is work more than a Broncos. On the other hand, will a Tebow card in a Broncos uniform be worth more than a Peyton Manning card in the same blue and orange? These will and can be discussed endlessly. Opinions will be formed, but eBay, Beckett, and other ways to gauge memorabilia prices will tell the ultimate truth. What do you think?
The card value to me is created by two people. The first person is the one who has possession of the card. The second is the person who is searching for that card. The value to the card holder will be lower at times than that of the person who wants possession of the card. Some people value cards ithey are searching for more than others. The fact that a player moves from one team to another doesn’t affect the card’s value, merely whether that teams collector still values the card in the same way. Someone will still value the card, whether they are on their old team or new team.
Player movement is part of the game. It will never directly affect the value of a sports card or the value of that person to an NFL Team. Their value can only go down based on performance and not on what team they play for. In the case of early retirement, it may actually help the value of the cards and fan interest. If the player was declining or no longer in his prime it may serve him good to retire when he did so that his value didn’t decline more in the following years.
In conclusion, player movement, trades, and early retirement will only have a major effect on the NFL team, the player’s family, and possibly the NFL as a whole. The effect on fan base and card value or interest will only be short lived, as new and exciting players will be in and out of the NFL constantly.
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