Make Money Flipping Sports Games – A Gem Often Overlooked

I love hustling sports games for several reasons:

  1. They’re easy to ship (like all video games)
  2. They’re always in high demand and sell fast
  3. They’re everywhere- thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, etc.
  4. They’re always untouched by other pickers

When a lot of guys start flipping, they like to start with video games.  It’s something a lot of us dudes know about.  And worst comes to worst, you end up with some games you can’t sell.  Personally, I encourage people to move away from the video games.  Step out of your comfort zone.  But that’s a rant best reserved for another blog post.

Anyway, the problem with a lot of video game flippers is that they are only looking for the home runs.  They want to find that college kid’s parents selling his Nintendo 64 and games for $5.  They want to see Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi’s Mansion for $1 each at the Goodwill.  And when they don’t find Pokemon Yellow sealed in the packaging at the local flea market for a nickel, they’re disappointed.

n64 lot

There’s nothing wrong with keeping an open eye out for valuable first-party Nintendo stuff.  But do just that- keeping an eye out.  The market has become so saturated that it’s pretty damn hard to find these hidden gems at the thrift stores.  But just like you don’t spend all your time at the clothes rack looking for Gucci shirts, you don’t have to spend all your time in electronics looking for N64 copies of Super Smash Bros.  Enter: sports games.

There are a few key indicators that make a sports game valuable.  The first, and most obvious is if the game is the current year.  If you ever see games of the current year for cheap, pick them up.  Even preceding year games can still be worth something.  If it’s 2016 and you see the 2015 version of Madden for <$5, don’t just pass on it.  It will easily fetch $15-25, and it will sell FAST.

Another one to look out for is older games, like vintage NES, SNES, etc.  Some games like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out are classics and will sell for $20 in a flash.  Others may not be worth much, but can still be used to add value to a console you are trying to sell.  If you’ve got a Nintendo 64 you just want to get rid of, it can be difficult.  The value is all in the games.  However, if you head to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, you can pick up a bunch of old sports games for <$10.  An N64 (console only) won’t get you much more than $10 after shipping and fees.  But an N64 bundled with $5 worth of crappy cheap games will sell for $35-50.  It doesn’t make sense, but that’s just how selling can be.

By and large though, the biggest thing pickers miss over with sports games are what I like to call “late production games”.  These are games created towards the end of the console’s life cycle.  For instance, after the Xbox 360 came out, games were only made for a few more years on the original Xbox.  The last game ever made for the console was Madden 2009.  Partly because it was the last Madden game for Xbox, and partly because it was the last game overall for Xbox have made this semi-rare game valuable.  You can easily get $25-40 for it.  On a newer console like Xbox 360 or PS3 it would be worth about $2.

madden 09

This applies to almost all sports games that were the “last of their kind” on older consoles.  The last Madden game for PS2 was Madden 2012, a worthless game on newer consoles, which will sell for $20 easily on the good old Playstation.  Even Nascar ’09 got me $10 (paid $0.50) the other day.  WWE games are another good one to always pick up cheap.  For reasons unknown to science, both 2010 and 2011 years go for $10-20, with special editions being worth up to the $30-40 range.

None of these are ever going to be the home runs that are most vintage Nintendo games.  But I’d rather hit singles every time at the plate than strikeout most of the time.  More importantly, you are now aware of the sports game market trend.  We are already in the midst of video game stores phasing out the Nintendo Wii, and in a couple years, it will be the same with the Xbox 360 and PS3.  When that time comes, there is certainly going to be a surplus of cheap “last of their kind” sports games to pick up, as people desperately try and sell their old consoles/games while they still hold some market value.  Show up, take advantage of it, hustle hard, and make some money!


  1. Pingback: Retail Arbitrage: My Next Experiment | New Bold Income
  2. Kelly

    How do you find out which years / consoles were these end-of-cycle games?

    I made some decent pocket money flipping stuff to the local GameStop stores a few years ago. Best find was a copy of Final Fantasy VII.

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