Investing in sports cards offseason can present a great opportunity for profit. Imagine if there was one time each year when you could buy stocks and be sure there were about to climb 20% over the next month or so. What would you do?
You’d probably buy all that you could and enjoy making 20%.
Crazy enough, sports card investing does have a period where prices dip and then surge 99% of the time.
No major sport plays year-round, so let’s learn how to use that to our investing benefit.
Investing during the offseason is one of the safest ways to invest. When the players and sports are out of the headlines, the buzz around them dies down, and the prices cool off a bit. Then, once training camp begins, prices come zipping back. As always, this is not financial advice, but this is a very effective way to ensure you get in on the highs and lows of the market.
When you buy during the off-season—while the players are doing nothing at a performative level, mind you—the cards will climb as the season nears. It’s hard to track how much the cards have fluctuated over the last few years because quite a few new collectors are getting involved, and the market is changing incredibly quickly. Still, I’d estimate the average is about a 20% average jump between off-season and in-season.
That means if you buy a Russell Wilson rookie during the middle of the off-season, it will be worth about 20% more when the season kicks off. And sure, that number varies between cards and players, but it exceeds your expected 7% stock market annual returns for a much shorter hold.
I typically load up on cards during the off-season and sell throughout the year—buying both “safe” investments like star quarterbacks and rolling the dice on under-the-radar players that can offer the 800-1000% returns.
Let’s look through the three most prominent sports and discuss their calendar for investment purposes.
While baseball season is jam-packed with games, players still enjoy a lengthy offseason so that you can pick up the best cards at lower prices. Here are some significant dates from the 2021 season, which has been COVID-affected but should still give you an idea of the cycle:
And, from there, it repeats again and again. Once the playoff hype dies in December, it will be an excellent time to load up on cards until about March. In addition, the home run derby and HOF induction present other unique opportunities to buy cards of players that could make headlines.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples from last offseason. All cards are PSA 10’s.
|Card||During 2020 Season||Deep in the Offseason||Spring Training||Around Opening Day|
|2011 Mike Trout Topps Update||$3,383||$2,850||$4,750||$4,951|
Here is the NFL schedule for the upcoming season:
While the off-season stretches from February to early August, NFL cards will be at their lowest prices during March, April, and May, when more attention is on other sports.
And don’t forget! As we’ve seen recently, a lot of overeating to preseason stars presents money to be made, too.
|Card||End of the Regular Season||Deep in the Offseason||During Preseason Games||At the height of the season|
|2001 Drew Brees Topps Chrome RC||$485||$341||$1,260||$1,700|
Finally, here’s the NBA schedule for the 2021-22 Season:
With a schedule like this, July through September are optimal months for investing. The closer the regular season draws, the more hype will drive up the prices.
|Card||End of the Regular Season||Deep in the Offseason||At the height of the season|
|2017-2018 Jayson Tatum Prizm RC||$2,251||$1,780||$3,210|
One thing that can’t be overlooked is the importance of playoffs to all of these schedules. We have already discussed this issue before, but it was worth repeating briefly.
Once the regular season ends and playoffs begin, cards will take another leap in value. The deeper your investment players or teams go in the playoffs, the higher the cards will climb. If you get a 20% boost from the season starting, you could get another 20% boost from the playoffs, so always consider this when investing—what teams have the best shot to win it all?
We hear it all the time: Tom Brady and LeBron James are beating time. Well, when investing in sports cards offseason , you’re prepared to beat time, too!
If you’re ready to start buying based on the calendar, keep this list handy and get to shopping!