“Last July, with training camp just weeks away, [Blake Martinez] started his own company, Blake’s Breaks, and it took off immediately. Martinez has since hired nearly 20 full-time staffers, and collectively, they host 16 hours of live streams per day, establishing themselves as one of the biggest Pokémon channels on Whatnot. Martinez hosts two or three live streams a week himself.
“He said revenues for Blake’s Breaks recently climbed past the $11.5 million mark — in less than a year.
‘He’s an incredible talent building a million-dollar business,’ says Craig Jones, the general manager for trading card games at Whatnot. ‘Blake brings the same level of hype he had sacking a quarterback when he pulls a Charizard from a pack.'”
Clem blogged about Blake Martinez back in February, which I didn’t know when I initially broke ground on this piece based on Zac Keefer’s deep-dive feature for The Athletic.
Since then, a mere five months later, it appears Martinez’s Pokemon revenue has DOUBLED.
Fuck all the way off with your NFT bullshit, crypto bros. Martinez is living proof that actual, physical trading cards will always win out over soulless digital copies in the end. Probably not, let’s be honest, but for now, Martinez is riding a wave of Pokemon nostalgia and raking in eight figures in revenue. The funny thing is, you’d think ultra-rich Silicon Valley nerds would be precisely the type of high-end collector clients Martinez would serve. I don’t know what to make of any of this. Where to even begin?
I’m currently scraping melted brain residue off the floor of my apartment not because I killed someone but because my cranium overheated and exploded from reading this news on Martinez, a retired NFL linebacker who’s only 29 years old. Talk about a side hustle-turned-gold mine.
Maybe I really was the village idiot for trying to be edgy in fourth grade with my baseball card collection I’d bring to school. My peers insisted it was kinda cool that I was going against the grain, even as everyone else played Pokemon. SHIT. UHHHH. MOM, WHERE’S MY TAMAGOTCHI!?!? CAN WE SELL IT!?
Martinez saw a headline during the height of the pandemic that Pokemon card sales were exploding, and remembered he used to collect them as a kid. He called his mom to ask if she still had them, only to learn that his parents had given them away. There went a potential $100,000 — or so Martinez estimated.
To take that six-figure loss on the chin right out of the gates and still thrive to this degree? Sure it helps to have some NFL money in tow. I nevertheless admire the perseverance. I’d have been tempted to say, “Oh well! Not meant to be!” Maybe I should take a page out of Martinez’s playbook. My parents threw away this incredible Snoopy-based comic series I created stories and illustrations for as a precocious little tyke. Fully convinced approx. 50 of my 52 best screenwriting ideas came from those pages (I suck out loud at drawing). LOST FOREVER.
Seriously, this whole situation about Blake Martinez among the coolest character arcs in all of modern nonfiction. I feel like I remember Blake Martinez ranking among the leading tacklers in the NFL for a solid few years there. To be that good at football, turn around and become a gigantic entrepreneurial genius in the field of Pokemon sales is quite an achievement. If he keeps profiting at this clip, I’m sure Martinez’s story will be biopic material. Imagine that. I bet it’ll be worthy of the silver screen someday, or hell, even a miniseries. First we’ll need the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes to end, of course!
Other notable details from this recent feature on Martinez: He managed to nab a super rare Pikachu Illustrator card from 1998 by getting in touch with a middle man, wiring him a six-figure payment despite never meeting him in person, and wound up selling the damn thing for $672,000 at an auction. AND sold another one of those same cards — there are believed to be 41 in existence — for another $570K.
Anyone else wanna turn into a live-action version of Ash Ketchum and get into business together? I’m so down. This seems like the most legit get-rich-quick scheme I’ve ever heard of. The power of Pokemon is real.
Despite how profitable Pokemon cards may be, don’t buy them. It’s a pipe dream. Buy football merch instead to get ready for the season. Then, you know, do your thing and try to get in on this Pokemon boom.