Live breaks 101
While card collecting is a historic and timeless hobby, “box breaking” has become a huge trend in recent years thanks to video streaming technology becoming much more accessible.
What is a box break?
A box break (or a group break) is an event where collectors buy a spot in the break in exchange for receiving some of the cards in the case/box/pack. These are typically live streamed so that all participants in the box break can share in the excitement of seeing the pulls and hits as they happen. Box breaks have become a popular and economic way for collectors to get potentially higher-value or rarer cards without having to buy a whole box or case themselves.
Why should I try box breaking?
Value: Without a doubt, box breaking is one of the mostcost effective ways to get cards you’re interested in for an affordable price. Instead of having to buy a box yourself and invest hundreds of dollars, you can pay a fraction of the price to get the teams you’re interested in. There is also a certain amount of quality control that comes with box breaking: buying a spot in a higher-caliber break means you could potentially get an extremely valuable card at a cut-rate.
Cases can cost from $700-$2000! At a live break you can purchase a spot in these breaks for $20-$50 on average, and still have an opportunity at the highly sought after cards!!!!
- It allows you to collect your favorite team without collecting unwanted cards.
For example: You are a Knicks fan and despise collecting Knicks cards. You can purchase the Knicks for each break and only collect the team you want!
- Community: Another great benefit to box breaks is the camaraderie that goes along with the break. These are typically live streamed with a chat group running alongside. Collectors can share in the excitement of watching pull after pull, hit after hit. Some breaks run auctions during the stream so participants can have a little fun competing with one another. There can even be bonuses and giveaways during the livestream which is another added benefit to participating live.
How much does it cost?
Since collectors split the cost of buying the box, it is always cheaper than buying one on your own. But prices can range dramatically for a spot in a box break and there are several deciding factors. Perhaps most importantly, the quality of the box/case. If it is a “hot box” with a higher ratio of hits (autographs, memorabilia cards), then breakers will charge a premium price since the box was likely more expensive. The price also varies depending on the slot that you purchase as mentioned above.
In short, you can find decent breaks anywhere from $25-$100 but the prices can jump significantly as the quality of the product increases.
How do box breaks work?
Box breaks can be done in several different ways and it depends entirely on the breaker that you decide to buy with. Below are some of the more common types of breaks:
Random Break or Pick Your Team (PYT): Collectors buy a team (or multiple teams) and they receive every card pulled from that team. Prices for the teams are predetermined based on popularity/checklist of the team.
Pre-Priced Team: There is a pre-determined price for each team in the break. For example, the Chicago Bulls may be priced at $99 but the Houston Rockets priced at $25. Prices are based on the number of potential “hits” or high-value cards in the set along with the potential of the product’s checklist having a high number of HOF’ers, Stars, and Rookies.
Pick a Pack: Prior to the start of the break, collectors will select a pack number to be opened during the break. They receive all of the cards within that pack.
Draft Style or Team Draft: This break works similar to pro-style drafts. Breakers use a randomizer to determine draft order. After all of the cards have been pulled, the top person gets first dibs at picking a card. The second person gets to pick a card from the remainder, and so on until all of the cards have been pulled. There are some variations on how breakers run this draft style.
Hit Draft: Some sports card products contain no base or insert cards and are comprised totally of just “hits”. So, if there a total of 20 cards in a case, there can only be a maximum of 20 participants. As in the Random Break (see above) a randomizer is used to set the draft order. Whomever is in the first position after the randomization process will get to pick first from the 20 cards that have been opened, with 2nd, 3rd, and so on picking in numerical order until the 20th pick gets the last remaining card.
Division Break: In this break, collectors buy an entire division of a sport. For example, you would buy one of the six NBA divisions and then receive all of the cards from all the teams in that division. This break is typically more expensive but it gives collectors a better chance at getting a hit from the break and receive more cards overall.
Live Auction: All teams start at a minimum price and an auction is conducted in the break room by the host. Once all teams are auctioned off, the break will begin with participants receiving the cards of the team or teams they have won (and purchased) just as in a Random Team or Pre-Priced Team break.
Razz: Not a break in the traditional sense, but more like a winner-takes-all type of lottery. It can be setup for a case, a box or a card. Essentially, participants buy spots in the break and 1 winner gets the prize through a randomizer. It is generally used for expensive items and many, less expensive spots are created.
Many breakers make their own variations on these common versions or invent new ones entirely. Make sure you look at the rules of the break before you buy a spot just so you know exactly what you should be getting out of the break before it begins.
What is a ‘Hit’ Card?
A “Hit” card is a value card that is pulled in a break. It can be any card numbered Lower than 50, any autograph cards, any memorabilia/relic cards, and any cards that come encased directly from the product manufacturer.