How Do Sports Card Box Breaks Work?

Sam Hayes
Written By Sam Hayes
Sam is a sports journalist and lifelong sports trading card enthusiast. Sam aims to share his expert knowledge of sports cards to help others make smart buying and selling decisions.

Whilst sports card trading certainly isn’t sterile, collectors are always looking for new and innovative ways to shake the market up.

Sports Cards Breaks are one of the newest trends to appear within the industry, adding a sense of intrigue and suspense to sports card trading that hasn’t been present for years.

For many, the initial appeal of sports card or sports sticker collection stemmed from the unknown – buying a pack of cards or stickers, without knowing which cards were inside and the pure sense of joy when a needed or rare card or sticker appears in the packet.

Making a direct comparison to that, sports card breaks are in essence group card reveals, where a box of sports trading cards is purchased and collectors join the break, in order to secure certain cards that are revealed within the box.

In the age of live streaming and instant content, sports card breaks have become hugely popular in the sports trading card market and they have also opened up the industry to fresh eyes and modern trends in relation to how sports card collection is undertaken.

Here is a rundown of how sports cards breaks work and how they can be useful for all levels of collector:

Sports Cards Box Breaks: How do they work?

Whether people accept it openly or not, gambling is a huge part of the comings and goings within the sports trading card market and risking when to buy and/or sell a card, is a constant gamble collectors are facing.

Sports Cards Breaks are a microcosm of that gambling element that attracts a good amount of collectors in the first place, as the fabled risk vs reward strategy is a huge part of the thinking with sports card breaking.

At the initial stage, the ‘breaker’ will purchase or acquire a specific batch or block of sports trading cards and collectors will ‘buy in’ to their ‘break’.

From here, the ‘breaker’ will open the box or collection of cards and reveal them to all of the enthusiasts who have bought in.

The ramifications for joining a sports card break can differ hugely in every case (more on this later) but once the box has been broken, the collectors who have bought in, will be entitled to their allocated cards.

As previously mentioned however, there is an element of risk in every sports card break and should the conditions under which a collector bought in not be met, then that collector will not receive their cards from the break.

Whilst it all seems a little elabourate and perhaps complicated, sports card breaks are thrilling viewing and those who broadcast and host breaks, are all too aware of the audiences they can pull in.

That said, sports card breaks probably aren’t for everyone, especially collectors looking to keep their high-end cards moving within their market but they certainly are entertaining for all concerned.

What are the different types of sports card box breaks?

Another appeal of sports card breaking is the many different types that are available to collectors.

The key element here is ascertaining why the sports card break is taking place and the specific aspiration of each collector will determine what they are looking for from each break.

Random Break

As the name suggests, random sports card breaks are where collectors buy in to a break and then the specific teams/groups are allocated at random, with every collector buying in for the same price.

From here, if a card from any of the teams that have been allocated to that person appear within the break, then they will get to keep those cards moving forward. This also works in the opposite direction too, with collectors running the risk that none of their allocated group cards appear, meaning they have bought in but they will not be gaining any cards.

Team Break

An increasingly popular method amongst collectors is the team break, where fans can choose which specific team within a break they will acquire cards from and should they appear within the break, then they get to keep them.

A working example here is often down to the popularity of any given team and how sought after their cards may be within the resale market. Should a collector choose to buy all the cards from Golden State Warriors in a NBA break, they would expect to pay more than the equivalent buyer from the Detroit Pistons, simply due to the fact that the Warriors are a better performing team than the Pistons.

Draft Break

Bursting onto the scene in recent times as a real audience pleaser in the sports card breaking live streaming market is the concept of a draft break. Drafting is big business across all American sports and in more recent times has become a phenomenon within the world of fantasy sports and it is now emerging within sports card trading.

Once a collector has bought into a break, they are allocated a pick of a team in the draft. From here, should any cards emerge from the break from that chosen team, the collector gains them. Suspense and intrigue is key to the appeal with the draft break.

Are sports card breaks worth it?

Risk and reward are the USP for sports card breaks and whilst they certainly aren’t for everyone, serious finds can be found when breaking.

As with any gamble, some collectors will see an instant reward for very little initial outlay – with players hitting the jackpot off a throwaway 10 dollars and picking up thousands of dollars in return.

If banding around high end cards and searching for maximum value and reward off every card is the objective, there are too many moving cards within a sports card break to guarantee success and hefty returns.

However, when it comes to the entertainment sector of the sports card trading industry, sports card breaks have become seriously big business and they are hugely enticing for all levels of collector.