Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
What's hot in the world of sports memorabilia?


Welcome to Three Up/Three Down, where we look at which athletes, trends and gear are running hot and running cold in the sports memorabilia world.

Matt Lane, Vice President of Sports Images, Inc. provides the official 411 on this ever-changing industry.

THREE UP

LeBron James: Right now the market is hot ... but in a holding pattern. The entire NBA-licensed product industry is waiting to fill what are called "if signed" orders. Meaning the minute LeBron decides where he's signing, factories around the globe will crank out his new gear. Also, don't forget that King James filed the paperwork to formally change to No. 6, so even his Cavs gear (if he stays) is going to be a huge seller.

All-Star Game: It's selling now, but come the morning of July 14, the entire market from signed memorabilia to shirts, hats and everything else with a 2010 All-Star Game logo is dead. Look for most of it in discount stores -- the graveyard of all trends.

Silly Bandz: If you know anyone 12 or under, you've seen them with these rubber bracelets. The trend appears to be mostly a geographic phenomenon going from East to West. However, with all the licensed Silly Bandz coming out (Disney, MLB, NBA and more) this trend should stay hot through September, with kids looking for bragging rights on the newest and hottest thing.

THREE DOWN

Bobbleheads: The collectability of these once-sought after statues has left the building. There's still an interest, but only when they're given away as a promotional item. Time will tell if the market picks back up when solar-powered moving bobbleheads arrive sometime in 2011. Yes, we're serious.

Championship gear: The market is already flooded with so many caps, shirts and jerseys that when a team finally wins it all most fans are already geared up and don't open their wallets like they used to. In the case of a team such as the Lakers, who won last season, sales are pretty much nonexistent.

Off-the field woes: Ben Roethlisberger and Tiger Woods are the latest examples of athletes whose gear used to fly off shelves. Now some manufacturers have gone so far as to stop making them all together. So, if you're looking for the latest Todd McFarlane-designed Big Ben figure you're out of luck -- that one got nixed for 2010.