The $220 billion World Cup in Qatar has been playing for a few days, and as the heat of the event heats up, a secret but hot business - the "star card" has surfaced.
Red Star Capital Bureau noticed that recently, star cards sold in the form of blind boxes have made players enjoy it and crazy krypton gold.
Senior fan Allen said that there are 32 teams in the Qatar World Cup, Panini issued a total of 486 star cards, and some friends usually buy more than 5 times the issuance in order to collect a full set (ordinary cards), which costs at least 4860 yuan. Mr. Guo, the founder of SM51, the first jersey star card collection store in the west, said that the most expensive card he bought was 10,500 yuan. The star card was also nicknamed "Straight Man Hermes".
In the second-hand market, star cards are equally popular, and even sell at sky-high prices. On November 24, the news that a Cristiano Ronaldo star card was auctioned for 7,777,777 yuan on the Katao platform attracted attention. On November 27, the seller of the star card that sold 7.77 million yuan replied to the Red Star Capital Bureau that the card was mistaken by the buyer and did not actually pay.
But behind the sky-high gimmick, what exactly supports the price of the second-hand market of the star card?
↑ Image from Katao
The secret and hot business behind the World Cup events
Known as "Straight Man Hermes"
"It's just a piece of paper with people drawn on it, but the most expensive signature card can be worth millions of dollars," said Hu Lan, a stand-up comedian, who once told about the star card. As the heat of the Qatar World Cup heats up, the secret but hot business of "star card" gradually surfaces.
"Panini 2022 Qatar World Cup Star Card, iron can with three silver folding cards, 159 yuan!" On November 27, in the live broadcast room of a trendy play store on Douyin, as soon as the anchor's voice fell, the product link displayed the words "snatched up".
This is the official star card of the Qatar World Cup issued by the card company Panini, and it is the only authorized star card issuer of the Qatar World Cup. One tin can contains 6 basic card packs, one pack contains 8 star cards, and 48 cards have the opportunity to "open" 3 limited cards. Opening a card is similar to unpacking a blind box, unpacking the closed package, opening your favorite star or limited edition, so that star card players are happy and crazy for it.
↑Image from Douyin Mall
With the start of the World Cup, the star card, known as the "hard currency" of the World Cup, ushered in the peak trading period. According to AliExpress data, in the past 30 days, game card sales in Saudi Arabia have increased by 580% year-on-year, Brazil by 480%, and South Korea by 400%. On short video platforms such as TikTok and Douyin, World Cup star cards and other related topics have already exceeded 100 million views.
Veteran fan Allen (not his real name) is one of the players. "Share my happiness with everyone", Allen posted the freshly opened star card on his little red book. He told Red Star Capital that there are 32 teams in the Qatar World Cup, and Panini issued a total of 486 star cards, but the star card is a blind box design, you can't predict what cards will be opened, there are more "radical" friends around in order to collect a full set (ordinary cards), usually according to the issuance of more than 5 times to buy, at least 4860 yuan.
However, compared to ordinary cards, players are crazier about collecting refractive cards (cards have reflective film after special treatment), signature cards, material cards (inlaid player jerseys, sneaker fragments), limited cards, rookie cards (new players), etc.
Among them, the World Cup star card "PRIZM series" sold by Panini is the most popular series of star refractive cards, and Red Star Capital Bureau found on Taobao and other platforms that the price of "2022 Panini Prizm Qatar World Cup Grenade Edition" is 699 yuan / box, and the price of a single ticket is about 30 yuan, which is 15 times higher than the ordinary version.
↑ Image from Taobao platform
The higher-priced star card is nicknamed "straight male Hermes", and even derived from games such as generation, group formation and crowdfunding.
Red Star Capital Bureau noticed that since the opening of the World Cup on November 20, many Douyin live broadcast rooms have emerged to open cards on behalf of the card, and the card opening is broadcast live almost every day. After the user purchases the specified link in the live broadcast room, the host can open the card on behalf of the host, and if a specific star such as Messi, Mbappe, etc. is disassembled, there will be a reward in the live broadcast room.
The player Liu Cheng (pseudonym) also told Red Star Capital Bureau that his star card player group is keen to team up to remove cards, so that the cost of card removal can be shared. "Recently, more and more people have formed teams to open cards, and they can form teams in almost half an hour," Liu Cheng said, adding that such teams are dozens of times a day.
Investment or hype?
The 7.77 million sky-high star card transaction turned out to be an oolong
Selling in the form of blind boxes is only the primary market of the star card business, and in the second-hand market, the star card is also popular, and even repeatedly sold at sky-high prices.
According to the first financial report, in August this year, baseball star Hornus Wagner's star card sold for an astonishing price of about 49.7 million yuan, setting a new record for the highest transaction of a star card. The domestic star card second-hand trading platform card Taotao shows that a football star card signed by Messi and scored 8.5 points has undergone 99 bids and was auctioned at a high price of 350,000 yuan at the end of August.
The second-hand price of the star card is constantly being refreshed. On November 24, the news that a Cristiano Ronaldo star card was auctioned for 7,777,777 yuan on the Katao platform attracted attention.
"The transaction of sky-high star cards is indeed a flashpoint event that is easy to attract attention in the past two years, but the Cristiano Ronaldo star card with a transaction price of 7.77 million is far beyond the normal range of the market, and it should be an abnormal order without real transactions." Mr. Zhou, the head of the Magic Ball Club who has been following the star card collection industry for 11 years, told Red Star Capital Bureau.
On November 27, "Pokemon", a seller of 7.77 million football star cards, replied to the Red Star Capital Bureau that the card was mistakenly auctioned by the buyer and did not actually pay.
Behind the sky-high gimmick, what exactly supports the price of the second-hand market of the star card? Mr. Zhou, the head of the Magic Ball Club, told the Red Star Capital Bureau that considering the different types of star cards issued, not all cards have value, and most of them do not reach the level of thousands.
Mr. Zhou said that because the star card is mainly a derivative of commercial sports events, the popularity of sports events and players determines the value basis of the card. "But whether a card is worth enough is mainly based on scarcity, followed by collectible elements on the card, such as the autograph of the star and the shirt slice."
↑Star card with star signature and shirt slice, picture from Katao
Mr. Guo, the founder of SM51, the first shirt star card collection store in the west, currently has a collection of 2,000 star cards, including football, basketball, baseball, F1, etc., and the most expensive card bought is 10,500 yuan. He believes that the value of star cards is a complex system, and the number of star cards issued and the year of issuance also determine their value. "For example, rookie cards, because they are the first year of a player's appearance, cannot be copied, so they are worth more than similar cards in the future." In addition, the performance of players in this World Cup also affects the value of star cards.
Mr. Guo, the founder of SM51, said that at present, most customers who buy star cards in stores are fans and card fans, and everyone wants to commemorate their favorite teams and stars through star cards. However, Red Star Capital Bureau found that in addition to fans and card fans, there are also investors. Some players said in the star card sticker bar that the box of F1 star cards they bought last year for 1,700 yuan has risen to more than 18,000 yuan this year, more than ten times.
But it is not uncommon for "investing" in star cards to fail. In July this year, Edison Chen released a video on Xiaohongshu to unbox the Panini basketball star card, a box of national treasure series with a market price of about 5,000 US dollars, and the actual value after the final unboxing was less than 5,000 yuan.
"Excessive pursuit of economic interests outside the star card culture, without a correct understanding of things, without a full understanding of the market, or even without the drive of hobbies, will most likely not get the desired results." Mr. Zhou said to Red Star Capital Bureau.
The domestic market is heating up and players are increasing
These listed companies have long been in the market
The star card originated in the United States and has a history of more than 100 years. It is worth mentioning that the popularity of the "star card" is heating up year by year in China.
Mr. Zhou deeply felt that from the end of 2019, the popularity of star cards suddenly heated up globally, and 2020-2021 can be said to be the fastest growing 2 years of domestic star card audiences. At the beginning of 2021, eBay released a report that sales of star cards in China increased by 205%, ranking second in the world among countries other than the United States.
Mr. Guo, the founder of SM51, also mentioned that since this year, the growth rate of China's collection card sales has been significantly higher than the European and American regions and the global average, he is very optimistic about the Chinese market, analogous to middle-aged and elderly people like to collect stamps, the small piece of paper carries the copyright, age, circulation and other endorsements, plus this year there are large-scale auction houses to conduct formal auctions of star cards, I believe this is a positive signal.
"But the price of star cards has not been rising, the boom that began in 2020 to push up card prices actually reached its peak in the first half of 2021, and the value of most cards has declined in the past one and a half years," Mr. Zhou said, adding that taking the Kobe star card as an example, the star card boom and its crash accident have led to its autograph card becoming a hot target in the market. Compared with 3 years ago, the growth rate has reached tens of times or even hundreds of times, but after the demand for collections is gradually saturated, the price upward trend will be relatively moderated or even declined.
Although the upward trend in prices has eased, the huge IP market of star cards is still not to be underestimated. According to data previously released by Verified Market Research, the compound growth rate of the global star card market from 2020 to 2027 can reach 23%, and the market size will reach 98.7 billion US dollars (about 676.2 billion yuan) in 2027.
Behind the huge IP market is business. Take Panini as an example, during the 2018 World Cup, Panini's daily average card bag production reached 8-10 million. The World Cup boost brought Panini's turnover to about 1 billion euros that year, double the 536 million euros in 2017.
Nowadays, domestic capital is also eyeing this track. At the beginning of this year, A-share listed company Yao Kee Technology (002605.SZ) made a strategic investment in Shanghai Chaowang Information Technology Co., Ltd., which owns DAKA, a domestic star card IP issuer, and the above-mentioned trading platform Katao is also owned by it. Yao Kee Technology disclosed that Katao's GMV exceeded 600 million yuan in 2021, with a year-on-year growth rate of more than 300%; The highest monthly GMV exceeded 50 million yuan.
In September, the star card platform Fansmall announced the completion of a new round of financing, and Tianyan inspection data showed that it had previously obtained angel investment from Yao Ming and others. According to Southern Metropolis Daily, before the opening of the World Cup, FansMall announced that it had obtained the exclusive authorization of the official IP of the Argentine national team in Asia, and also said that it would issue the exclusive star card of the Argentine national team during the World Cup in Qatar.
Red Star News reporter Qiang Ya Mill
Edited by Guan Li Wang He
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