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Brandon Steiner's passion for signed sports collectibles led him to start a sports marketing company in 1987 that's grown into a multimillion-dollar business representing athletes and marketing sports collectibles through promotions. His products are among the most popular merchandise awards in American Express Co.'s Membership Rewards frequent usage program.

Age: 38

Title: President, Steiner Sports Marketing, New York

Insight: Counterfeiting of sports collectibles has made athletes and consumers wary, but the market is hotter than ever.

Opinion: Most marketers fail to realize that hockey and auto racing fans are 10 times more loyal and passionate than the average football fan.

Growth area: Sports collectibles for promotions, sales incentives and business-to-business marketing.

Tip: Avoid promotions involving trivial sports collectibles. What consumers want is a big dose of the real thing-one-on-one time with athletes and unique items.

Trend: Athletes signing collectible balls and game jerseys for cause-related promotions and events. They want to show they're not just in it for the money.

Watch for: More promotion prizes involving spending time directly with athletes, one-on-one coaching, getting on the ice at an NHL game.

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