Photo: Matt McGuckin, founder and CEO of Dappz Sports | Courtesy Photo

Matt McGuckin Turns A Passion For Sports Trading Cards Into Big Business

Matt McGuckin, founder of Dappz Sports, built one of the largest cross-platform sports media companies in the trading cards and signed memorabilia industry.

A resurgence in the popularity of sports memorabilia trading cards over the past couple of years has proved to be a big hit with collectors.

“This renewed interest and dynamic online community surrounding sports cards ignited a fresh spark within me, and I recognized the potential for something greater than just a side hustle,” said Matt McGuckin, founder of Dappz Sports, one of the largest cross-platform sports and entertainment media companies in the trading cards and signed memorabilia industry.

McGuckin’s grandfather, a former scout for the New York Jets, imparted his family’s love of football. As a child, growing up in a family with an affinity for sports, Matt developed a passion for collecting sports cards which later became the epicenter of his life and unexpected entrepreneurial journey.

In 2019 McGuckin, who goes by “Dappz,” started DappzSports in his bedroom. A couple of years later, in 2021 after grossing $5 million in sales, he opened a retail store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California, where fans can purchase sports trading cards in person, meet other collectors and attend card signing events with special guests and their favorite sports players.

Matt initially seized the opportunity to showcase the value of sports cards and memorabilia by creating a 24/7 online live-shop experience. Early success and a growing fanbase led to the creation of a cross-platform DappzSports brand that encompasses a brick-and-mortar shop, a 24/7 online live-shop experience, on-demand card reveals, giveaways, educational content, live events, and more. McGuckin successfully turned his love of sports into a burgeoning sports memorabilia trading cards and multi-media empire.

Online auctions, e-commerce sites and social media have helped transform sports collectibles and memorabilia into big business.

It’s not your father’s marketplace anymore. “We are the future of shopping, modernizing the 19th-century-old pastime of trading sports cards, he added. What makes DappzSports a standout is a global community of fans who don’t sit on the sidelines, they’re engaged. “We give them a platform to interact with their favorite athletes, brands, and creators with a very low entry point so people of all ages and backgrounds can join in.”

Photo: Xartproduction, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Xartproduction, YFS Magazine

McGuckin’s passion turned out to be a timely and profitable venture. Buyers who see sports trading cards as an alternative investment category like fine art, rare wine and luxury automobiles, continue to spend serious money on the hobby. The core sports memorabilia market was estimated at $12.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a rate of more than 15.6% over the next 10 years, while the growing trading card market is estimated to be a $13 billion industry, according to research from Market Decipher.

“From traditional sports leagues of UFC, NFL, MLB, NBA, and FIFA World Cup to the captivating universes of non-sports trading cards like Star Wars, Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, and Marvel, Dappz Sports has something for everyone. Our aim is to connect like-minded fans from across the globe who share the same passion for sports, entertainment, and the thrill of the chase as we do.”

Matt McGuckin turned his one-stream dream into a sports memorabilia trading cards multi-media and entertainment company. Learn why he became an entrepreneur, the challenges that threw a curve ball or two, and why patience truly is its own reward.

Company DappzSports
Founder(s) Matt McGuckin
Location Los Angeles, California
Industry Sports Memorabilia Trading Cards, Media & Entertainment
Year of Establishment 2019
Startup Costs Undisclosed
No. of Employees


The unexpected entrepreneur

Becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t something I initially set out to do, but it gradually happened as I sought fulfillment in life and my career. Seeking a fresh start and something that could ignite my passions, I turned to my deep-rooted love for sports.

Growing up, my grandfather worked as a talent scout for the New York Jets, which gave me insider access to the world of sports stadiums, signed jerseys, merchandise, and the exhilarating atmosphere of games. I’ve also had a lifelong fondness for trading cards and experienced the nostalgia of collecting Pokémon and sports cards throughout my childhood.

“I began creating YouTube videos and producing content to educate others on the ins and outs of the sports card industry, empowering others to also profit from this hobby.”

I was thrilled to discover that sports cards were experiencing a resurgence, creating new opportunities for buying, selling, and trading. I dove into this market and was successfully able to turn a profit. My entrepreneurial drive was fueled when I began creating YouTube videos and producing content to educate others on the ins and outs of the sports card industry, empowering others to also profit from this hobby.


A tug of nostalgia and sports hobbyist revival

DappzSports took shape in 2019, prompted by influential figures like Gary Vaynerchuk and other prominent influencers who contributed to a resurgence of excitement around sports card collecting.

However, my journey into the hobby itself began when I was a child in the mid-90s. I was deeply passionate about collecting sports cards. At the time, the market became oversaturated and card companies were overprinting, which rapidly decreased the value of even the most sought-after cards over the following decade. Like many others, I eventually left the hobby behind. That is, until the gradual resurgence in the industry we’ve seen over the past few years.

The acquisition of exclusive licenses by Panini for NBA and NFL trading cards helped restore balance to the market. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and live sports events were canceled, the industry experienced an unprecedented nostalgic boom. Suddenly people were confined to their homes, and the hobby of sports card collecting provided a much-needed diversion. I witnessed collectors and enthusiasts engaging in online breaks and live streams from their bedrooms, where they were able to connect with fellow enthusiasts and indulge in their shared passion for cards.

“This renewed interest and dynamic online community surrounding sports cards ignited a fresh spark within me, and I recognized the potential for something greater than just a side hustle.”

This renewed interest and dynamic online community surrounding sports cards ignited a fresh spark within me, and I recognized the potential for something greater than just a side hustle. Throughout that year, I witnessed cards being resold for five times their original purchase price, which further confirmed the imminent explosion of the market. It was clear that it was time to elevate my involvement.

Photo: Raegan, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Raegan, YFS Magazine

So, I took to YouTube to document my process, sharing how I found significant cards that I’d acquired months earlier. Once I started to live stream that process, DappzSports was born. The reception from viewers was overwhelmingly positive, and from that point forward, DappzSports began its journey. The rest, as they say, is history.

DappzSports has allowed me to successfully combine my love for sports with media, including live streaming, podcasting, original content creation, and the establishment of a media network.


Spotting superfractors, long-term investments and the pursuit of passion

One of my notable success stories involves my acquisition of a unique and highly coveted Star Wars card known as the Jedi A La Kurosawa “superfractor.” Superfractors are exceptionally rare. This was numbered one-of-one (1/1).

While this discovery may not represent my greatest success, it played a significant role in honing my investment instincts and later being recognized by Topps, a leading collectibles and trading cards manufacturer, a notable creator of Star Wars trading cards. When I found the card, which featured all Star Wars main characters (priced at $16,000), I immediately recognized its potential for substantial appreciation. I firmly believed that there was ample room for growth and an ultimate value that would fall between $16,000 – $100,000.

Eighteen months later my instincts proved to be spot on. I received offers upwards of $50,000 for the card. However, I made the deliberate decision to decline those offers, instead choosing to leverage the card as a valuable marketing tool for my brand. Keeping it has allowed me to continue to generate engaging content and promote DappzSports while still maintaining confidence in the long-term prospects of the Star Wars market.

That experience significantly influenced my ability to spot investment opportunities and make informed decisions. It serves as a testament to the importance of thorough research, strategic thinking, and a keen eye for undervalued assets.

“When it comes to measuring success, it’s not solely about the growth rate or meeting lofty expectations. For me, success lies in the day-to-day grind and the joy of pursuing my passion.”

When it comes to measuring success, it’s not solely about the growth rate or meeting lofty expectations. For me, success lies in the day-to-day grind and the joy of pursuing my passion. Building a sports media company that engages fans with similar interests to mine and being able to expand my online footprint into various other media forms has always been my vision.

Each day presents its own set of challenges and problem-solving opportunities, but for me, success is the ability to wake up every morning and engage in work that I love without expecting immediate returns. It’s about trusting that what I’m doing is right and knowing that the cumulative effort I’ve invested so far has been worthwhile. By continuing to put in the work and staying true to my passion, I believe that success will continue to manifest in meaningful ways.


Building a dedicated and passionate team is difficult

One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced is determining who to trust as we experience rapid growth and need to hire new people as we expand. I’ve learned that it’s crucial to find individuals we can truly rely on.

I am most astonished and fulfilled when I find someone who treats my business as if it were their own. It’s a remarkable quality to witness because it shows their genuine dedication and care. Initially, it can be surprising to see someone invest themselves so deeply. I find myself questioning why they would go so far above and beyond. This rare level of commitment is truly invaluable, and it makes me appreciate those who exhibit it and share my passion more than I could express.


Patience, acceptance, and hard work pay dividends

Patience may seem cliché, but as an entrepreneur, I still find myself yearning for quick results. I’ve learned firsthand how important it is to embrace this virtue. Alongside patience, I’d add that acceptance plays a crucial role in both business and life. Once you accept your current reality, it becomes easier to navigate each day and make an actionable plan for growth.

“Sports card investing has proven to show extremely impressive returns for traders coupled with an increasing number of events with large prize pools that offer lucrative growth opportunities.”Verified Market Research

Photo: Let's-Get-Creative, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Let’s-Get-Creative, YFS Magazine

As an entrepreneur, you must be able to embrace the truth that your business might not be a $100 million enterprise – yet. The first step is to acknowledge how much money you have generated and how much revenue you’ve earned each year. Once you know those facts (and consistently dedicate yourself to your work, day in and day out), you can expect gradual growth.

You may experience a 10% increase next year, followed by 20%, and then 30% (and so on), until you do hit that $100 million mark. Wherever your business valuation ultimately lands, you’ll be able to take pride in what you’ve accomplished through consistent effort and be equally fulfilled.


The power of habit and wellness rituals

For Matt “Dappz” McGuckin, habits and routines are key personal success habits. To start the day off, he opts for coffee. “Starting my day with a Venti Starbucks coffee has become a ritual for me… I find it energizing and comforting.”

When he’s not making deals and creating live streams on Instagram, TikTok, Twitch or Whatnot, you’ll find him outdoors. “Engaging in sports like football, golf, or other outdoor physical activities is essential for me,” Matt said. “I spend a significant amount of time indoors running live streams and working on the computer, so taking breaks outdoors can clear my head and reenergize me. I crave the feeling of being active and competing.”

Matt’s routine is also inspired by one of his favorite books mentioned earlier… cold plunge, sauna, and hitting the gym. “This routine is inspired by The Power of Habit. I go to the gym, take a cold plunge, and spend time in the sauna regularly. This ritual helps me maintain my physical and mental well-being while also giving me a much-needed break from my day-to-day work routine.”


Passion, purpose, and unimaginable impact

Matt’s passion and unexpected entrepreneurship journey have likewise created a community dedicated to education, entertainment, and mental wellness. “My goal is to create an experience that both entertains and educates people. So many of us have demanding jobs and face real stress throughout the day. It’s incredibly rewarding to hear stories from people who’ve found solace in our live streams, especially during tough times — like being in the hospital, in one viewer’s case,” he recalled.

“While I couldn’t imagine we could make that impact with DappzSports when I first started the business, stories like that motivate me to recreate the experience for even more individuals. I aspire to build a brand that is welcoming and enjoyable, never insensitive, and willing to take risks to bring laughter to people’s lives. Ultimately, our intent is always to bring a smile to people’s faces and provide them with a much-needed break from the pressures of life.”


From Matt’s Desk

In the spirit of curiosity and continuous learning, we asked Matt to share some of his personal recommendations so you can work smarter from the ground up. Here’s what he had to say.


What book would you recommend to other entrepreneurs?

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg delves into the process of habit formation and the transformation of habits into routines. The book highlights the individual variability in the time it takes to establish a habit, ranging from two weeks – 45 days. It emphasizes the significance of incorporating daily routines and habits into our lives, including seemingly simple tasks like making the bed, going to the gym, and adhering to a specific schedule.

This book taught me how instrumental habits truly are in the pursuit of our goals and aspirations. By consciously cultivating habits that align with our objectives, we build a framework that fosters consistent progress. Whether it’s committing to reading a set number of pages each day or taking incremental steps toward personal or professional growth, habits provide the essential structure for success.

Understanding the process of habit formation and implementing intentional practices enables us to establish routines that bolster our goals and make our daily tasks more manageable. Building habits requires dedication and effort, but the rewards are substantial once they become ingrained in our everyday lives.


Which apps, tools, or resources help you work smarter?

  • eBay: eBay is notably the world’s largest card resale site, the most prominent platform in the sports card community, and the one I use the most. eBay is so central to this market because it serves as a reference point for determining card values. By searching for a specific card and filtering the results to ‘sold’ items, you can review recent sales data. This info allows you to reasonably gauge the value of a card. For example, if you come across a card that has sold multiple times in the last 30 days at an average price of $78, and you’re considering purchasing it for $85, you’ll know you’re paying $7 over the average. This data can give you evidence-backed leverage to negotiate and secure the right price.
  • TikTok: We use TikTok heavily to build social content, engage with our audience, and create live streams for product sales. The original content we create and publish to each individual TikTok page also helps educate our audience about our vast product catalog.

Connect with Matt McGuckin and DappzSports on LinkedIn and TikTok.


© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.


In this article