Signed programs are a fairly inexpensive way to build an autographed collection. Current game programs are something you can buy at nearly any game – usually for around $5.00. For that price, it’s no wonder that they are becoming popular among collectors.
Programs are a unique collectible in that, like tickets, they are a way to show that you were at a certain game. Whether it’s a big game like a playoff or championship event or a preseason game, a program is something fans can look back on and remember that ‘they were there.’
A recent story in Sports Collectors Daily touted autographed programs as one of the most affordable areas for sports collectors.
Out of the four major sports (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey), baseball programs are probably the easiest to have signed. Many stadiums allow fans to enter the stadium up to two hours before a game is scheduled to begin to watch batting practice. Many baseball players make themselves available during this time to sign autographs as it’s a laid back time. Baseball in general is more of a laid back sport than the others and players will take time to autograph items for fans. If you purchase a program immediately upon entering and head down to the railing along the baselines, you should have a chance at securing some autographs. Another option is to bring programs from previous games you’ve attended – that will allow you to head down near the field as soon as you’re through the gates and skip waiting in line to purchase a new game program.
Still, it’s not impossible to have basketball or football programs signed. Most basketball arenas will let fans get close to the court during warm-ups and if you hang around there or near the tunnel where they enter and exit the court, some players may stop and sign autographs. And while it’s harder to get close to the playing field in football because of the distance from the stands to the sidelines, some players will sign near the tunnel before or after warm-ups.
Want a really unique collectible? Buy a Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or World Series program from previous years and bring it to a game or public signing to have participating players autograph it. A program from a championship game or series is much more significant than a regular season game. Even if your local team didn’t participate in a championship game or series, there are still reasons to buy one of these programs. You can have visiting players autograph it before or after a game or even at trading card and memorabilia shows that are in the area.
Programs, unlike most other items which collectors have signed, can be signed in either Sharpie or pen. A blue or black pen can work just as well as a marker in this case, though most fans will stick with a Sharpie for a bolder signature.
When it comes to deciding where to have players autograph a program, there are two main options – either the front cover or the inside. If signed on the inside, many collectors prefer to have a player autograph it near their name or biography as many programs include a bit on each player.
Signed programs are a special way to remember your time at the stadium, arena, or ballpark.
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