Sport Pins: A Brief History

Rick Cundiff - May 24, 2019
Sport Pins: A Brief History
Seems like sport pins are just about everywhere these days. Hockey games, baseball games, cheerleading competitions, and more. Did you ever wonder where sport pins came from in the first place?

Early Roots

The roots of modern pin trading date back to the end of the 19th century. At the first Games of the modern Olympics, held in Athens, athletes, judges and officials wore small cardboard discs in multiple colors to identify themselves. Eventually that custom evolved into the trading pins we see today.

Paris, 1924: The Start of Modern Olympic Pins

The 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris saw the opening of the initial Olympic Village for athletes to reside in. It meant more frequent contact among athletes and officials. Soon, they began trading sport pins among each other, with each country featuring its own particular pin. It was a great way to build friendships and camaraderie among different countries.
Before long, spectators adopted pin trading as well. Because the pins are portable and easily carried, they proved immensely popular. So much so in fact, that by 1948, Olympic organizers urged participating nations to limit the number of pins they produced in order to maintain their exclusivity.

1988: Coca-Cola Embraces Olympic Trading Pins

Pin trading and collecting soon became a popular hobby. Fans organized their own trading events. This popularity was not lost on corporate America. In 1988, Coca-Cola set up its first official pin trading center at the Calgary Winter Olympic Games. The event drew notice and others soon followed.

Earlier: Little League Pin Trading Takes Off

Little League Baseball picked up on pin trading even earlier, issuing its first official trading pins in 1983. The result was an explosion in the popularity of sport pins for trading among teams, players, parents, coaches and officials. At the Little League World Series every year in South Williamsport, PA, pin trading even rivals the games themselves as an attraction.

Today: Trading Pins for Virtually All Sports and Academic Competitions

Today, it's hard to find a youth sport that doesn't feature sport pins for trading, including soccer, football, hockey, dance, figure skating, cheerleading and more. At Trading Pins Direct, we've done pins for just about every sport imaginable.
The key to the popularity of trading pins lies in their originality. With each team having their own design, it's easy to break the ice among strangers and turn them into friends. Each new trade offers the opportunity to meet new people from different towns, states or countries. The pins help promote good sportsmanship and honorable competition.

The appeal of pin trading has even moved beyond the arena to other competitions. Academic competitive events such as Destination Imagination and Odyssey of the Mind now feature regular trading of custom sport pins at their regional, state and international competitions.

No matter what sport you're interested in, Trading Pins Direct can create great looking trading pins for it. We'll take your design and turn it into the ones everyone at the arena, field, rink or gym will want to trade for.

We offer fantastic quality, unbelievably low prices, and the best customer service on sport pins you'll find anywhere. For more information, just fill out our no-obligation Free Quote form, call us toll free at 866-860-8842 or email us at [email protected]. We look forward to serving all your custom trading pin needs!
Rick Cundiff

Rick Cundiff

Content Director, Blogger

Rick Cundiff spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before joining TJM Promos. He has been researching and writing about custom trading pins and other promotional products for more than 10 years. He believes in the Oxford comma, eradicating the word "utilize," and Santa Claus.