Interview with Jeff Hoferer written by Shane Salmonson

More blogs by Shane.

You don’t have to constantly be buying cards to enjoy this hobby. One way to experience the hobby without even having to open your wallet is through watching a web series. Much like gamers watch the streams of others playing the games, you can watch other people open packs! One of the more entertaining card web series out there is Pack Geek, created by Jeff Hoferer. I recently asked Jeff about his collecting background, the start of Pack Geek, and where Pack Geek goes from here!

BU: Can you give us a little background on yourself?

JH: Originally from Kansas, I moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college to pursue a career in acting and writing.  I’m a lifelong card collector.  My favorite athlete of all time is George Brett.  I met my wife working on a movie in 2007 – we were cast as step brother and step sister 🙂   I have a three-month-old son, name Fox, who I’m hoping will someday play third base for the Royals.  I run a production company called Occasionally Genius, and host and produce the PackGeek series.

Jeff with his wife.

   Future Royals third baseman, Fox.

BU: How were you introduced to the trading card hobby?

JH: I began collecting by chasing cards from the teams I grew up around, including the Kansas City Royals and the Chiefs.  I was lucky to have a sports card shop within a short bike ride of my childhood home, and that’s exactly where my neighborhood buddies and I found ourselves every weekend.

BU: What are you currently collecting (not just cards)? Any favorite pieces from your collection that you’d like to share?

JH: I’m currently obsessed/collecting Patrick Mahomes and Luka Doncic.  My favorite Mahomes card is one I actually pulled on an episode of the show – which is a 2017 Flawless Rookie auto #/5 – that recently graded a PSA 10.

One of my favorite collectibles is an uncut sheet of 1985 Topps Baseball that I have framed.  It’s my favorite set of all time, and I have a sheet that included the Gooden rookie, Mark McGwire USA Team and the George Brett base card.  

When I was younger I was an active autograph seeker.  I would go after all of my favorite players’ autos through the mail, or during batting practice at the stadium.  I have a few signed baseballs from some childhood heroes, but my favorite autographed piece was a get-well card that my grandmother convinced George Brett to sign for me while I was in the hospital as a kid.  That one is going to be hard for me to top.

BU: So what exactly is Pack Geek?

JH: PackGeek is a hobby adventure packed into a web series.  It’s a poor man’s treasure hunt and a trip down memory lane.  It about more than just breaking packs/boxes, it’s about sharing a passion for collecting cards with others – and tapping into some very fond childhood memories for a lot of our guests.

Trading Card Archival Storage Boxes

MUSEUM GRADE Trading Card Storage Box. 3-7/8 x 2-15/16 x 3″ (inside)​ W x H x D. Holds 150 cards in polyethylene sleeves or 100 cards in polyester (Mylar) sleeves. Made from Black Conservation Grade board that is acid-free, lignin-free and approved by the Library of Congress for Indefinite storage.

BU: Where did the idea to start the web series come from?

JH: I’ve had two primary passions throughout my life, filmmaking and collecting sports cards – and this was an opportunity to marry the two.  I’ve always loved opening packs, as it’s as close to treasure hunting as I’ll probably ever come.  I found myself opening some pretty expensive packs and sharing the results on a collector’s forum that I was a regular on.  So I started to think about how fun it would be if I could share the experience with my collector friends in a way that made them feel like they were there opening the pack (ie. First person POV).  I owned a camera and a tripod, and decided to film one.  So in August of 2010 the first iteration of PackGeek (PackGeek 1.0) was born with me breaking two 1975 Topps Mini Baseball wax packs.  The production quality was very rough – but it was more about just getting something out there, at the time.

BU: What was the process like to get Pack Geek started?

JH: I shot eighteen episodes over the span of about a year, and eventually decided the packs I wanted to be opening were just getting too expensive, and the video quality was not what I wanted it to be – so I took an indefinite break from breaking.  About seven years went by and I’d been watching a lot of Gary Vee videos.  If you’re not familiar – he’s a quick google search away.  Anyway, I loved his message, and he actually made me interested in bringing the series back.  I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention – my wife (of all people) called me out of the blue one day and told me she thought I should start doing the PackGeek series again.  

At this point, if I was going to do the series – I was going to go all in.  So I’ve set out to create the best sports card show I can.  (ie. PackGeek 2.0)

BU: What has the reaction from collectors been?

JH: The reaction from collectors overall has been really positive.  I create this series to be enjoyed by collectors, so if I didn’t think anyone was getting a kick out of it – I would have no motivation to do it.  The feedback that has been the most motivational for me is from fathers who have told me they love to watch the series with their children.  Because for me, that’s what it’s all about.  

Jeff & Hawkeye

BU: Some of the episodes include guests, which ones have been your favorites (though all are great, of course)?

JH: I’m always excited to talk to people about their sports card collection or their collecting habits as a kid.  So if I had to choose a single favorite guest up to this point, it would have to be a well-known Dallas radio host named Hawkeye (ep #40).  Hawkeye brought his childhood collection of 1971 Topps cards in with him, and I was blown away by how much he remembered about this set – and he was buying them the year they came out!  He had the precise blend of nostalgia and excitement for sports cards that I’m trying to tap into with this series. 

BU: Anything exciting on Pack Geek coming up in this new year?

JH: YES!!  I’m going to be taking PackGeek on the road.  This might just mean we’re filming outside of my house for a few episodes – but my intention is to make two different trips for episodes this year – one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast.  Being based in Dallas, I have access to a lot of hobby people, but it’d be cool to be able to film with some other folks around the country.  I am also planning to do more than just pack breaks.  I’d like to do some other features that document different aspects of the hobby and some of the personalities within it.

Jeff with episode guest Oliver Tull

BU: Do you have any advice for anyone out there considering to start their own web series?

JH: My advice would be – what’s stopping you from doing it?  At this point, all you really need is a smart phone.  You don’t even need unopened material to create content, all you really need is something to say…but you’ll probably want to show some cards at some point 🙂  The beauty of technology these days is everyone is going to a smart TV, and I believe we’ll all be using them exclusively at some point.  With a smart TV, YouTube is an app, which is essentially a channel on your TV.  With that in mind – I can go out and create my own (smart) TV network tomorrow, with zero barrier of entry, using YouTube.  Go out and become the next media mogul!

BU: Anything else you’d like to share?

JH: I want to take a chance to thank everyone that has ever watched an episode of PackGeek.  You guys are the reason this show is being produced – and your interest in my content keeps me going!  Please go check out the series on YouTube, and if you dig it – I would love for you to subscribe.  I’m working hard to try to build this show into something special.

Jeff Hoferer
Twitter: @PackGeek
YouTube channel: Pack Geek

Storage Boxes for PSA Graded Trading Cards

PSA Graded Card Storage Box. 3-3/4 x 12-1/2 x 5-1/2″ (inside). Holds 25 PSA Graded Card Slabs. These boxes are made from high-quality paperboard that is wrapped in white paper outside. Boxes feature an interior rail system that the slabs slip perfectly into. The system keeps slabs separated and firmly in place.