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eBay is buying TCGPlayer for $295 million – what does the community think?

On Monday, it was announced that eBay is acquiring TCGPlayer, one of the largest and most popular marketplaces for Trading Card Games. The deal, which is reportedly valued at a whopping $295 million, will see the online auction giant take on TCGPlayer, subject to closing conditions which should conclude in early 2023. 

Everyone and their dog knows of eBay, which has been the global leader for online auctions since it was founded in 1995. Last year alone, eBay saw the sale of $87 billion worth of merchandise. With the TCG boom seen in the last couple of years, which eBay has described as “a substantial growth”, there is no mystery as to why their sights have landed on one of the largest trading card platforms in the hobby.

eBay TCGPlayer

TCG Player was founded in 2008, as a digital media company specialising in the sales of TCG products and single cards. Since then, it has grown significantly from its Syracuse-based hobby store roots to a huge eCommerce platform that has become a household name in the TCG collectable space. Not only has it become a reliable source for valuing cards and keeping the marketplace of several leading TCGs healthy, but it also appears to be a rewarding and pleasant company to work for. TCGPlayer has been ranked as one of New York State’s best 50 employers, as well as one of the top 100 companies for women in the US, according to Fortune.com. 

eBay TCGPlayer

While some in the community worry about how TCGPlayer will be affected by the huge deal, CEO Chedy Hampson has issued a statement attempting to put the minds of the platform’s users at ease. In the statement, Hampson explains that the company will remain separate from eBay and that he will remain in his position as CEO, with the headquarters also remaining in Syracuse after the deal is done. According to Hampson, All that will change is that the company will get to benefit from eBay’s experience and resources so that they can ‘advance their purpose, and expand their tools and services to improve the collecting experience.”

What the community thinks – 

We reached out to some of our friends within the TCG communities to get their thoughts on eBay buying TCGPlayer for $295 million. Gary “King” Pokemon told us, “I think it’s a smart move for eBay and buyers. Personally, I’d prefer to see even more healthy competition”. Pat Flynn has expressed concerns about the takeover, saying, “I’m worried this will dilute the trust TCGPlayer had with its sellers and buyers. Part of what made it special was its separation from the rest of the card marketplace.” We did reach out to Leonhart, but following his travels home from this year’s Worlds in London, he is still gathering an opinion on the subject. With that being said, he did say that “Massive consolidation isn’t usually good for consumers but we will have to wait and see how this affects things.”

Will Creasy (PokeWizard96) is another collector who has shared his concern with us, saying, “eBay has never had any direct interest in the world of trading cards, aside from being a place people could auction their cards. The amount of scams that have taken place is remarkable and eBay doesn’t seem to have any control over that, unlike other platforms.” He went on to add, “Why doesn’t TCGPlayer team up with a company with significant growth like Whatnot, particularly considering Whatnot has big backers behind it.”  Another collector of Pokemon, Pokemafe, thinks that this could be eBay’s way of clearing out the competition by buying up the competition. He went on to share his concerns about the trust people will have in the company, following scamming experiences he has heard about. 

A high-end collector of the Dragon Ball Card Game,  Null_Collector, has shared his thoughts on how eBay could implement their current practices into TCGPlayer by saying, “My main concern is that eBay is known for their high transaction fees. I hope this will not be implemented on TCGplayer. I am hoping this acquisition will include international purchases, which will be good for international buyers.” Another well-known collector, TopSonGoku, hopes that the sale will provide more support to the Europe market, telling us, “It might make the EU prices on cardmarket.com more competitive as a result, whereas now you can sometimes see big discrepancies with prices from overseas.” He added, “So it might increase availability to countries whereTCGPlayer isn’t a thing. But will probably make the hobby more expensive as a whole.

Some of the wider community have shared their views on the deal on Social Media, with many worried that eBay will monopolise TCG collecting with fewer options to get better deals on certain card conditions. Added fees and shipping decided by the eCommerce giant could also be a problem. Others are hopeful that the purchase will be good for the hobby, hoping that more support for sending tracked shipping for singles will be made available through eBay’s postage avenues. 

Earlier this year, eBay launched the Authenticity Guarantee service for trading cards, showing its first interest in cashing in on the recent TCG interest boost that saw sales of $2 billion in the first half of 2021 on the online auction platform. This service offers the authentication of ungraded trading cards, with the service moving into graded, autographs and other collectables. While it is sports cards that have had the largest reported increase in sales, according to eBay, the Pokemon TCG saw a 536% GMV growth in the first quarter of 2021. In a statement released by Dawn Block, eBay’s Vice President of Collectibles, Electronics and Home, she said – 

“Our trading cards business has been growing for the past six years, and the recent surge speaks to the immense cultural significance of the category. As hobbies turn into investments, authentication services in categories of high value have become a priority for collectors. With the introduction of Authenticity Guarantee for trading cards, we’re giving enthusiasts exactly what they want, while continuing to improve confidence in the marketplace.”

eBay TCGPlayer

If CEO Chedy Hampson claims that TCGplayer will remain a separate entity, concerns within the community may not come to fruition, but of course, it’s too early to know what eBay’s exact plans for TCGPlayer are. With that being said, if eBay is the controlling shareholder of TCGPlayer, they will have the power to hire, fire and make structural changes to the business at any point in the future. 

Do you think the deal will help evolve the TCG marketplace? Or is the sale completely financially motivated with a disregard for the TCG market?

To keep to date with all leading TCG news, including upcoming sets and events, make sure you follow Ludkins Media on Instagram or Facebook

Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief

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