The News: London-based art fair operator, Frieze, has announced an acquisition of the Armory show in New York and a signed agreement to acquire Expo Chicago. The move expands Frieze’s presence in North America while consolidating the fair market under Frieze’s parent company Endeavor.
Going Forward: The two fairs will continue to operate under their existing brands with their current teams. Although Frieze has plans to provide digital support for the fairs, they also will offer help in VIP relations, gallery relations, and sponsorship teams.
Why: Art fairs operate on a tight schedule throughout the year, collectors and other industry constituents have bemoaned the addition of new fairs around the world. Acquiring two fairs with distinct customer bases and established schedule spots gives Frieze massive reach into the massive American art market. NYTIMES
The News: In other live events news: sports merchandise company, Fanatics, has announced the launch of a live events business in partnership with IMG. The new venture will begin holding events in 2024, hoping to recreate a Comic-Con type experience within the sports collecting space.
Why: Fanatics has been on a diversification kick of late. As the company plans for an IPO they have been acquiring and building fresh business lines. The company has acquired PWCC to expand into collectibles marketplaces, and 15 states-worth of sports betting licenses from Australian sportsbook, Pointsbet.
Who: Fanatics brought in Lance Festerman as CEO of Fanatics Events. He was previously running pop-culture events at Reedpop, including New York Comic-Con. IMG president of events, Paul Caine, touted Endeavor’s live events expertise and global network as super-chargers to the joint venture’s goal of delivering a world class fan experience. CNBC
The News: PSA has opened its first grading facility in Japan after opening their first satellite office in the country in 2018. The announcement demonstrates PSA’s interest in catering to customers in markets outside of the US by shortening shipping times.
Why: Grading demand in Japan has continued to grow since Collectors entered the country five years ago. Popular graded products include Pokemon cards, Nippon professional baseball league cards, and cards for Japanese stars that have transitioned to MLB success–namely Shohei Ohtani.
Going Forward: According to Gemrate, TCG is 36% of June grading–Pokemon sets comprise 9 of the top 10 slots within the category. Also during last month, Shohei Ohtani overtook Michael Jordan as the most graded athlete in the month. We will be curious to see if these trends get exaggerated after setting up shop in Japan. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDIGEST
Robert Edward Auctions (REA) has acquired Huggins & Scott, another sports memorabilia auction house, with Huggins & Scott becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of REA. The two companies will continue to operate independently, and the acquisition aims to leverage the network and resources of REA while maintaining the trusted reputation of Huggins & Scott. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY
eBay has introduced a new trading card submission service for its eBay vault, allowing collectors, investors, and sellers to directly submit eligible graded cards valued at $250+ for specialized storage, authentication, and streamlined transactions. EBAY
Tom Brady has been rumored to be opening a sports memorabilia shop in Las Vegas. TWITTER
Collection and sales channel management tool, Mascot, launches with a free product to help collectors save time managing their collections. withmascot.com
Christie’s announces sale from former Rolling Stone, Charlie Watts. The two-part auction will feature pieces from the rockstar’s jazz and literature collection. The top lot is expected to be a first-edition copy of The Great Gatsby. CHRISTIES
eBay has completed its acquisition of Certilogo, a company specializing in AI-powered digital IDs and authentication for apparel and fashion goods. The move highlights eBay's focus on enhancing authentication capabilities in the secondhand fashion market, providing consumers with more confidence in their purchases and offering brands secure product solutions. TECHCRUNCH
NFT company, Dapper Labs, known for their partnership with such sports leagues as the NBA, UFC, and NFL has announced a layoff of 51 employees and C1 contractors. TWITTER
Sports-mega-collector, Jim Irsay, acquired Muhammad Ali’s belt won at the rumble in the jungle for $6.18 million a few months ago. After a lifetime of collecting he was apparently given a $1 billion offer for the entire collection “by someone in the Middle East”, but he refused. Read all the gory details as Stephen Holder unpacks Irsay’s collecting past and future. ESPN
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