Notable March Sports Card Releases
March will be jam-packed with significant releases, primarily football and basketball products. You can thank Panini’s delays making NBA and NFL collecting a year-round hobby. So what are the major March sports card releases you ask?
We will still not be seeing 2021 Prizm football, which was initially slated for release in January, but there are still quite a few exciting sets releasing.
NOTE: all these release dates are estimates. Will supply chain issues, there’s a good chance these dates are not final. Some of these products have already been delayed more than once.
The Best March Sports Card Releases
2022 Panini Contenders Football (March 9)
Iconic. Perhaps no other word describes the Contenders football set better. If this tells you anything, Tom Brady has a contenders rookie autograph. In other words, the cards – and even their design – haven’t changed much in over twenty years. That level of consistency has bred popularity. This year’s hobby boxes will cost about $600 and feature the standard rookie ticket autograph set in addition to Hobby-exclusive Rookie Clear Ticket, SSP Rookie Clear Ticket Mosaic, and the brand-new Rookie Ticket RPS Reverse! Each box contains 18 packs of 6 cards. It’s a very autograph-driven product. Look for 5 autos per box, one of which will be on-card. You can also expect to find 1 parallel per box, possibly including the popular Cracked Ice.
2021/22 Panini Origins Basketball (March 9)
Origins is always a popular early release for both NBA and NFL, although later releases seem to wash away some of its appeal. Each box has one pack of 7 cards, and you can expect to find 2 autographs or memorabilia cards, 2 parallels and inserts, and 3 base cards inside. In addition, this year’s set introduced a new lineup of SSPs, including “Originals,” which we saw in the NFL product. There will also be booklet cards that may include RPA’s, a fun new twist for collectors who like booklets. That said, the seven-card box will set you back $500, so proceed with caution.
2021/22 Panini Prizm Premier League Soccer (March 9)
Prizm Premier League will still draw a big crowd, even in a month dominated by major NBA and NFL releases. Soccer cards are gaining traction, especially in the global market, and in a year mainly focused on the sport (World Cup, anyone?), these cards are sure to be quite hot. Each box includes 12 packs of 12 cards, with 1 autograph, 4 silver prizms, 5 numbered colored prizms, 8 other colored prizms, and 6 inserts. If you like Prizm cards and the rainbow of colors as much as anybody else, these $350 boxes might be a great intro to soccer collecting.
2021 Panini Playbook Football (March 11)
Playbook, true to its name, is a product-focused on booklet cards. At $400, the 4-card box is also hazardous. That said if you’re okay with spending $100/card and like booklet cards, it could be a fun product. The problem with Playbook is that, for the most part, collectors prefer standard cards over booklets, which are hard to store, grade, and display. If you’re buying for a rip, your market of potential buyers is a lot smaller than with other products.
2022 Panini Limited Football (March 16)
Another $400 football box, 2021 Panini Limited brings back a popular product with a classic feel. The RPAs are the most notable pull from Limited, but the 15-card boxes still present other chances at big-ticket cards. Each box includes 1 RPA or Ring of Honor Autograph, 1 additional auto, 1 memorabilia card, 1 parallel, and 1 2000 Limited Tribute. Panini must be loving the booklet cards because this product teases “find booklets that feature two- and four-player combos in Partnership Duals and Quad Signatures Booklet, also find the wildly popular Draft Day Signatures Booklets of some of the top rookies of 2021.” Thanks to the sudden force-feeding of foldable cards to collectors, will a booklet craze begin? Did Panini draw inspiration from Samsung’s foldable smartphones that nobody asked for? Some questions will never be answered.
2021 Panini Clearly Donruss Football (March 23)
Panini Clearly feels like a money-squeeze from Panini. The company took the same design as the Donruss set and printed clear cards on acetate cardstock (if there is such a thing – I’m aware of the irony). Unfortunately, it’s a set that doesn’t grade well and doesn’t look any better than the regular Donruss set. Nonetheless, for $250, you can buy your own Clearly Donruss box that includes 4 packs of 5 cards. Panini advertises this one as a chance to hunt for Clearly Rated Rookie autographs of Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, and more. Still, they also call this “one of the most anticipated releases of the year” in the selling points, so take it with a grain of salt. Each box contains 1 autograph, 1 insert, 2 parallels, 8 rated rookies, 8 base, and decent odds that you’ll be left with deep regret.
2021/22 Panini Contenders Basketball (March 30)
Contenders is perhaps the single most iconic rookie autograph card one can own. The rookie ticket autos have been around since the beginning of rookie autographs. The chance to pull a timeless rookie autograph from the exciting draft class of Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, and others is a big draw for this product. Want the case against Contenders? The hobby boxes are $550, and this product is incredibly driven by rookie autographs, which you’ll only pull 2 of per box. Unfortunately, contenders doesn’t have base rookie cards that ever sell for anything of note, so you either will get fortunate or almost entirely strike out. Unfortunately, the latter is much more common than the former.
2021 Panini One Football (March 30)
Panini One presents collectors with a chance to pay $700 for a one-card box.
If you’re still reading for some reason, here’s the scoop. Each box of Panini One includes an on-card autograph per box, and each autograph will be of a top rookie, legend, or current star. In addition, patch cards include “prime” and “super-prime” memorabilia, and you can also find opti-chrome inserts. So, this release is the sports card version of a lottery ticket if that’s your thing.
2021/22 Prizm Draft Picks Basketball (March 30)
At $250 a box, Prizm Draft Picks basketball for 2021/22 defies all logic about Draft Picks cards. It’s unfortunate to see this product release just two weeks before the end of the regular season. After all, this is a college product without the players in their NBA jerseys, and it’s also hard to imagine many collectors prefer the college Prizm cards over NBA-licensed Donruss cards. However, still, the boxes are $250 and contain 4 autographs. That’s not a bad price, especially for a long-term hold. In addition to the autographs, each box includes 4 silvers, 8 parallels, and a handful of inserts.
Bottomline On March Sports Card Releases
March sports card releases are filled with delayed basketball and football products that seem a bit out of place at this time of year. That can be somewhat off-putting, but consider that long-term value has little to do with the release date. So think, will these cards be desirable three years from now when making your purchasing decision.