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World’s Rarest Baseball Card Set on Deck For NFT Experience

The collector was just 14 years old when he found a handful of striking 3×4 baseball cards tucked in the back of an old photo album. Those oversized sepia cards kicked off a 44-year treasure hunt for the “Miracle Set:” an ultra-rare baseball card set expected to shatter sports memorabilia records when its NFT experience launches on May 5.

“Imagine a baseball card set that is 90 years old yet was unknown to the collecting public until the 1960s. Imagine a set that contains Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson as three of the most desirable keys, yet every other issue in the set is a virtual equal in the rarity department. [That’s] the 1912 Plow’s Candy Baseball Cards set,” said top industry authenticator PSA, which graded every card in the “Miracle Set.”

The Plow’s Candy Collection baseball cards were the first set produced by a confectionary company in the Midwest. Their oversized format and unique designs made them both expensive to produce—$10 each by today’s standards—and cherished by the Chicagoans and St. Louis residents who received these heirlooms with gourmet chocolate deliveries between 1913 and 1915.

Of the scarce 180 individual cards discovered to date, only 69 unique player cards have ever been documented. This “Miracle Set” includes 61 of those individual player cards. But in a set with a deep bench of stars—17 Hall of Famers, including four of the original five inductees—one card is undoubtedly the crown jewel in the treasure trove. PSA has rated the only existing Honus Wagner as a 7 in “near mint condition.”

The “Miracle Set” has been called the world’s rarest baseball card set based on its pure scarcity, extraordinary design and historical legacy. However, the combined value of the physical cards, NFT rights, multimedia, and experiential elements could give it another title when it goes up for sale on May 5: the world’s most valuable baseball card collection.


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Chase Elliott to Make Second 2021 NASCAR Appearance 5/2

The No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, driven by NASCAR’s 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, will be hitting the track for its second appearance of the 2021 season at the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on Sunday, May 2, at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. The race begins at 3:00 p.m. EST and will be televised on FOX Sports 1.

Following a successful 2020 season that saw Elliott pilot the UniFirst Chevy to a first-place finish and the $1 million grand prize at the renowned All-Star Race, UniFirst and 13-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Hendrick Motorsports introduced a revamped design of the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for the 2021 campaign. The refreshed Chevy is highlighted by the company’s signature green color, eye-catching black and white contrasts, and NASCAR-inspired design cues.

“UniFirst is thrilled to be partnering with the 2020 Cup Series champions, Chase and Hendrick Motorsports, for the 2021 season,” said Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications for UniFirst. “They provided us and all their fans with such excitement and countless memories over the past year, and we’re looking for more of the same this Sunday.”

Elliott has gotten off to a solid start to the 2021 NASCAR season. Through ten races, NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver currently sits eighth in the standings, having collected three top-five finishes and one stage win while leading for a total of 76 laps.

“We’ve had a lot of success in the UniFirst No. 9 Chevy and I can’t wait to keep that rolling in Kansas this weekend,” Elliott said. “I’m hoping the revamped UniFirst Chevy will put on a good show for everyone. Kansas is such a fun track, so I’m looking forward to the race.”

Elliott has had plenty of success racing at Kansas Speedway throughout his career. He secured a first-place finish at the track back in 2018, collected four top-five finishes, and led 145 laps in his 10 starts at the 1.5-mile oval.

The 2021 NASCAR season marks the fifth year of UniFirst’s multi-year partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, and the company’s second year sponsoring Elliott and the No. 9 team. UniFirst also continues to be the Official Workwear Provider of Hendrick Motorsports, supplying work clothing and uniforms to the team, as well as to its sister company, the Hendrick Automotive Group.

UniFirst’s next race of the 2021 NASCAR season will be held at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. EST, televised on NBC.


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Tennessee Sportsbooks Surpass $200 Million in Bets

March Madness helped propel Tennessee to more than $200 million in bets, almost entirely reversing the state’s first month-over-month decline in February. And with two new operators launching in the state, Tennessee’s market took a significant step in its maturation process, according to analysts from PlayTenn, which researches the Tennessee gaming market.

Bettors placed $205.9 million in wagers in March, The Tennessee Education Lottery announced over the weekend. That is up 16.8% from $176.3 million in February, even if it fell short of the record of $211.3 million set during the NFL playoffs-boosted January. March’s wagers produced $16.1 million in adjusted gross income, up 23.8% from $13 million in February and only topped by January’s $21.8 million.

The brisk action in March yielded $3.2 million in state taxes.

With March’s bets, Tennessee sportsbooks have now generated $905.8 million in wagers since November’s launch, falling just shy of becoming the quickest U.S. state to reach $1 billion in lifetime handle.

“Even with the early knockout of Tennessee, the state’s lone representative in this year’s NCAA Tournament, March Madness was still a huge draw,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayTenn.com. “It has been an interesting ride so far in Tennessee, but the foundation of the market remains strong.”


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Colton Herta takes Pole in Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Colton Herta prevailed in a typical fraught NTT Indycar Series qualifying, edging fellow Jack Harvey by just two-tenths of a second to secure an all-Honda front row for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Herta and Harvey were two of the seven Honda drivers to advance through the first round of Indycar “knockout” qualifying. Behind the lead pair, defending series champion Scott Dixon will start eighth in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal and Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race winner Alex Palou rounding out the top 10 for Honda. Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe also advanced to second-round qualifying, and will start 11th and 12th, respectively.

Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport Honda) Pole Qualifier, 1st NTT Indycar Series pole of 2021 and 5th career pole: “I knew [before the start of the race weekend] we had a good race car for here. Just had to get through those two [qualifying] stages nice and clean. Really happy for [my] guys. We’ve got the best seat in the house [pole] for the start, it’s been an incredible weekend so far. Can’t wait to get going again tomorrow.”

Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing Honda) Qualified Second, third career front-row start: “We felt confident coming into this weekend, as we’re run well here previously. We were strong all day, and happy to share the front row with our ‘pseudo teammate’ [Colton Herta]. With Colton, with Honda and the Andretti Autosport connection [MSR shares a technical partnership with Andretti Autosport], it’s a really good day for us all.”


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Dallas Mavericks Superstar Luka Doncic Signs To Multiyear Exclusive For Autographs And Memorabilia

It has been recently announced that Panini America, NBA Players and the Dallas Mavericks have signed Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic to an exclusive agreement for autographs and memorabilia. Doncic has been a driving force behind the wild global growth of the sports trading card market for the last three seasons and has had a relationship with Panini America since before he was drafted.

“As a kid growing up in Europe, Panini stickers were a big part of my childhood so to be able to partner with Panini America even before I was drafted was really exciting to me,” Doncic said. “I’m proud now to be able to strengthen our relationship and build a close connection with fans and collectors. There is so much going on in the collectibles space and I’m happy to be with them.”

Now, that relationship is exclusive. Doncic’s autographed memorabilia — including jerseys, basketballs, photographs and more — is available exclusively through Panini Authentic, the memorabilia division of Panini America that also maintains exclusive relationships with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ja Morant, Anthony Edwards, Rui Hachimura, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and more. The star’s autographed trading cards have been a staple of Panini America products since his 2018-19 rookie season and will continue to help drive sales in 2021 and beyond.


Photo Credit: Billion Photos / Shutterstock.com

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