(CBS) Some call it “sports paradise.” Others refer to it as “sports heaven.”
Either way, the National Sports Collectors Convention returns to the Chicago area next week, giving sports fans of all ages a place to bask in the glory of sports history as collectors, dealers, distributors, manufacturers and licensors of sports memorabilia come together in a one-of-a-kind sports convention.
“The Nationals Sports Collectors Convention is the multi-billion dollar sports and entertainment industries collectibles premier showcase,” founder Mike Berkus said. “We are excited to have Chicago host this experience where collectors, sports fans and the entire family can enjoy five days of sports paradise.”
The convention goes from Wednesday, Aug. 3 to Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. There will be over 750 exhibitors and over 90 high profile athletes signing autographs, including Mike Tyson, Joe Montana, Carlton Fisk, Cal Ripken, Rickey Henderson, Bo Jackson and John Elway.
“We are extremely excited that the 32nd Annual National Sports Collectors Convention is returning to Chicago,” John Broggi, NSCC Executive Director, said. “Chicago has an exceptionally strong sports tradition with very avid and knowledgeable collectors and a diversified sports fan base.”
Current and former athletes in attendance that will be of special interest to Chicago sports fans include Ozzie Guillen, Juan Nieves, Luis Aparicio, Steve Stone, Gale Sayers, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood and Starlin Castro.
The first National Sports Collectors Convention was held in Los Angeles in 1980 and has since been held annually and moved around the country to ensure all collectors a chance to attend. Over the years it has turned into what they call a “mega-event” and over 45,000 collectors and fans are expected to attend this year.
As its Web site exclaims: “If you can’t find what you’re looking for at the National, it probably doesn’t exist!”
This year, the 17th Olympic World’s Collectors Fair will be held in conjunction with the National Sports Collectors Convention, which will give fans even more access to sports memorabilia. It is the first time the fair will be held in the United States and will include collectors and dealers from all over the world including, Great Britain, Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, The Netherlands, Sweden, China, Japan, Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Brazil, Greece and many other countries.
A number of Olympic dignitaries will be attending, including International Olympic Committee member Gerhard Heiberg , United States Olympic Committee Director Peter Zeytonjian and 1968 US Olympic gold medalist Dick Fosbury.
It all starts next Wednesday, Aug. 3, with a VIP reception and a “Sneak Peek” event from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The convention continues Thursday, Aug. 4 through Saturday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at NSCCShow.com.