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Sports 101: 13 Latest Trends of the Sports Memorabilia Market + How to Invest?

Sports 101

Sports memorabilia are some of the most popular collectibles in the industry, with a vast number of collectors seeking to get their hands on the most valuable pieces they can come across. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors that continues to see a rise in revenue and presence in the market. Due to the sentiment and history attached to sports memorabilia, there is no doubt that the industry is one of the most loved areas among avid sports enthusiasts.

The sports memorabilia market sees changes similar to every other industry. Collectors have to pay attention to these before investing in any memorabilia. Following the patterns and the present market trends can help investors analyze the best time to collect new items, participate in auctions, and more. It also helps determine the rise and fall of value for different collectibles. If you’re looking to invest in sports memorabilia and want to ensure that you make the best decisions, here are some of the latest trends you must know of before purchasing.

13 Latest Trends of the Sports Memorabilia Market You Should Know

1. Significant Revenue Boost

In 2022, the sports memorabilia was expected to have a total value of $33 billion. With a higher number of participants from all over the world and around 98% of collectors actively engaging in the market, the market is expected to grow to a value of $227 billion by 2032. The growth will come from all segments of the memorabilia market, including trading card collectibles.

2. Increase in NFT Memorabilia

Over the last 2-3 years, NFTs have significantly taken over the investment market, especially for collectibles. Sports NFTs see a rise in the industry as collectors opt for this route of collecting memorabilia.

NFTs offer a higher level of exclusivity for fans, as each piece is often a single make or limited edition, which means they are only available once in a lifetime for people to get a hold of. The coming years will continue to grow in sports NFTs as more institutions work on making these collectibles accessible to collectors.

3. A Steady Growth Rate

The market size of the sports memorabilia industry will continue to grow at a consistent rate of 15.6% till 2032. The rise of baby boomer wealth, increased international collectors, millennial involvement, and many more factors will contribute to this rise, especially in the fields of trading cards and NFTs. These will be two leading channels for the industry’s growth, followed by online auction houses that make sports memorabilia available to a large number of sectors in the collector market.

4. NFT Preferences Over Physical Memorabilia

Experts believe that the digital accessibility and exclusivity offered by NFTs will see its popularity overtake physical memorabilia. By 2032, NFTs will cross half the value of physical memorabilia due to more collectors opting for digital access to new-age collectibles.

5. Presence of Authenticators

Sports memorabilia authenticating firms, such as PSA, GAI, and BGS, will see a higher level of permanence due to the growth of memorabilia in the industry. The increase in the different types of memorabilia will call for stricter authentication measures to ensure that only genuine collectibles find their way into the industry.

Sports 101

6. Rise in Online Auctions

Ever since the global impact of COVID-19, auction houses have been finding ways to create high-quality experiences in the online atmosphere. There will be a significant rise in online sports auctions for sports memorabilia, allowing international collectors to participate in different events to invest in collectibles that meet their preferences.

7. Increase in Apparel Market Share

Sports jerseys hold a 30% market share in the memorabilia industry. The share will see a steady rise due to increased collector participation and demand for apparel collectibles among sports enthusiasts. More people will want to get a hold of jerseys from their favorite sports teams, boosting the growth of apparel share in the market for their sentimental value.

8. North American Presence

The US will continue to be the leading market for sports memorabilia, followed by Canada, allowing North American content to be the most prominent market for the growing industry. Europe will be the second most prominent region to boost the growth of the memorabilia industry.

9. Football Reigns the Industry

Football is the leading game that will keep the memorabilia industry at its forefront. The sport currently leads the memorabilia industry sales by a whopping $2.5 billion. Football trading cards bring another $2.5 billion to the industry, making the sport the leader of why the industry continues to proliferate.

10. Increase in Trading Card Share

Since the impact of COVID-19, there was a significant growth in the market share of trading cards, with an increase of over 4 million card sales in 2020 compared to 2019. Ever since, the market share has continued to grow, especially through online platforms, with a high demand for trading card demand for football and basketball.

11. Collectors are Seeking Out Promising Athletes

Compared to the earlier demand for historical memorabilia from iconic athletes, collectors are now seeking to collect items for promising players who will continue to build their presence in the future. Investors are analyzing performances through games and popularity patterns to identify the highest-value player and bidding on their memorabilia for higher impacts in the market.

12. The Increasing Popularity of Formula 1

F1 memorabilia is seeing a steady rise in popularity, with the record sale of the 2006 Futera Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton card being sold for a whopping $312,000. High-end F1 cards are seeing a higher demand in online auctions and are slowly becoming prominent players in the sports memorabilia industry.

13. Rise of Soccer Memorabilia

Alongside F1, Soccer is also seeing a rise in its memorabilia presence. There has been a boost in sales of memorabilia of prominent athletes, such as Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo, and more.

In the first quarter of 2022, there were 22 five-figure sales for related memorabilia, which was a sign of the steady increase taking place. Soccer memorabilia will continue to grow in the industry and contribute to the rise in overall revenue.

How to Invest in Sports Memorabilia?

Investing in high-value sports collectibles is every collector’s dream, which is why it becomes necessary to pay attention to how one proceeds with investing in them. When participating in auctions to get a hold of different memorabilia items, collectors must pay attention to the following:

  • Market trends
  • Current values
  • Past performances
  • Popularity changes
  • Historical significance
  • Sentimental demands

Paying attention to these factors will help collectors learn about the best piece of memorabilia in the market and help them make beneficial investments that will only increase in value.


The sports memorabilia industry is one of the most exciting, which is seeing steady growth at a significant pace. In 2021, the first quarter saw a 48% increase in six-figure sales for sports memorabilia.

The evolution of technology is changing the way collectors engage with the industry. Such changes heavily influence different market trends, with the industry seeing a $200 billion sales growth in 2020. For collectors looking to make impactful investments, it is critical to pay attention to these market trends before proceeding, as it will allow them to make informed decisions and earn high-value collectibles.