The Nation Preview III by Altan Insights: July 30, 2021

To prepare for the National, Altan Insights’ sat down with some of the top names in the space to discuss the event, their opinion on the overall card market, and more! We continue our conversation with sports card extraordinaires by talking shop with Ivan Lovegren, the man behind @WatchTheBreaks and co-host of the web show Go GTS Live.


Ivan is a comedy actor, writer, and producer based in Hollywood, CA, who also happens to have a sports card collecting obsession. In 2014, he parlayed his comedy skills and hobby passion into creating a sports card comedy web series on YouTube called “The Breaks.”

Ivan has been an active presence in the online trading card community ever since, including filming an episode at the National Sports Collectors Convention and appearing on numerous hobby media outlets including Beckett/Beckett Radio, Cardboard Connection Radio, and now on Go GTS Live. In addition to his work in the hobby, Ivan recently completed his first feature film (“Canyon Road”) and his first full-length television pilot (“GamerSesh”). 

Do you have a booth or anything you'd like to plug regarding the national? (giveaways, etc.)

I will be co-hosting the Mike Berkus Main Stage this year and we will be live-streaming the entire event with interviews, live breaks, giveaways, and hobby podcasts.  Guests include manufacturers (Panini, Topps, Upper Deck, Leaf, Onyx), MarketPlaces (eBay, StockX, Starstock), and content creators (Sports Card Investor, Hobby Hotline, etc).

What are trends you’re seeing in the space and are there any particular sports or eras that seem hotter than others right now?

The biggest trend I'm seeing is just the ebb-and-flow of performance.  People want to be "smarter than the room" and end up chasing their own tail (see Juan Soto since the All-Star break).  

Are there any players or sports you feel are underrated and overrated today?

I've noticed that Soccer values still follow a seemingly quick "what have you done for me lately" trajectory. Erling Haaland recently had a few months "off" because of the way tournament scheduling went and saw a massive dip (which he already seems to be climbing out of).  The USMNT fielding our B-Squad for CONCACAF while Pulisic, Reyna, McKennie etc. are resting has me thinking those future starters might be smart options to shop for right now.

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I know you’ll be busy with your event but what will you be targeting at The National?  

I'm hoping to get a few boxes of the new Leaf Pro Set cards. The autograph signers checklist is incredible and I love the classic Pro Set designs. 

What advice do you have for a first-time attendee?

I don't think self-care gets talked about enough around events like this. The days on the floor can be long and grueling, especially if you are attending parties or meet-ups each night.

Drink plenty of water. If there is a meal or two that you can make a smart choice with (salad, fiber, green things that help everything "move along"), make that choice so you can enjoy the Deep Dish Pizza or Italian Beef without regrets the following day. Set an evening alarm and don't stay out past the time you need to make it back and get the right amount of sleep so you can make it to the show floor early.