2010 will go down in video game history as the year of the "Stadium Events Mania". Prices spiked for both versions of Stadium Events only to plunge back down a few months later. What caused these wild price swings? What can collector's learn from the Stadium Events Mania?
What is Stadium Events
Stadium Events is a video game made for the original Nintendo NES. It was released in the USA and Europe in the late 1980's by the publisher Bandai. The US rights to the game were purchased by Nintendo so they could release the game World Class Track Meet. Bandai recalled Stadium Events but before they could stop the sale, a couple hundred games were sold to customers. Because of the recall, Stadium Events in the USA (NTSC version) are very rare with only about 200 copies believed to exist.
The European version (PAL) is much more common because Nintendo never recalled the game after it was produced. Stores were allowed to sell copies they had on the shelves. The exact number of copies isn't known but there are probably several thousand.
The rarity of the two games are very different but they look almost the exact same. There are only a few differences between the two games (see our Stadium Events version guide), which helped contribute to the mania as we will explain below.
History of Stadium Events in 2010
On February 10th, 2010 a person listed a Nintendo and five games on ebay. One of the games was a complete version of NTSC Stadium Events. The auction ended at $13,105 and was widely reported on mainstream news sites as a $13,105 Nintendo system.
People who were not game collectors started to hear about Stadium Events BUT none of the major articles mentioned the difference between PAL and NTSC versions.
Within days people started listing PAL and NTSC Stadium Events games for sale on ebay. Prices for the NTSC version went from an average of $1,025 in January 2010 to $6,400 in February, a 500% increase. The PAL version also increased nearly 500% from $179 to $1,070.
Buyers Learn Difference Between PAL and NTSC
All the publicity for Stadium Events surrounded the NTSC version, but the PAL version increased in value just as much. In fact between February 11th and February 20th, prices of both versions were almost exactly the same. The average PAL game sold for $1,900 during this time while NTSC games sold for $1,600. The average PAL game was a bit more expensive because there were more complete sets instead of cartridge only auctions.
Buyers were paying the exact same amount for the games because many new game buyers didn't know there were two versions.
By February 21st though bidders started to know the difference. Prices on PAL versions started to plummet going to $700 then $450 and all the way to $350 by the end of the month.
Record Breaking Stadium Events Auction
On February 26th a sealed NTSC Stadium Events sold for $41,300. This was the highest price ever paid for a video game (The seller has never verified that payment was received though). This brought even more press coverage and kept NTSC Stadium Events prices near record levels during March.
One seller bought a Stadium Events auction specifically to resell it a few days later in hopes of making more money. "This game might look familiar, because it is. I bought it just a few days ago" he said in the auction. With lots of hype in the auction description about making tons of money on the game if you buy now. This is a classic sign of a mania as Charles Mackay described in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds. People start speculating in hopes they can sell it for more to the next speculator.
Stadium Events Mania Collapses
By April 2010 prices on NTSC Stadium Events dropped to an average of $2,500 and have continued to drop to an average of $1,800 in June. This is 72% drop in price within three months.
The PAL version has decreased to $380 in June. The most recent sale was just under $160, an 85% decrease from the high price. Both games are approaching their pre-mania prices.
What Collector's Can Learn From the Mania
Don't get caught up in the hype surrounding high profile auctions. Most buyers are only interested in the games for a month or two and then their interest dies down. Sit on the sidelines and wait for prices to come back to more reasonable levels.
This is definitely one of those classic "easier said then done" statements, but it will save you lots of money as a collector.