The 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to kick off June in Russia, which means the Panini World Cup Sticker Album is here.
Filling the album is no small feat.
The United States Panini album has 682 stickers featuring soccer players, stadiums and more spread across 80 pages. The more sticker packs collectors buy, the more likely they are to stumble upon duplicates.
Professor Paul Harper from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics filmed a video where he calculated that filling the album would require the purchase of at least 967 sticker packs, each consisting of five random stickers.
With retailers typically selling the sticker packs for $1 and the album for $2, collectors could end up paying a hefty price. Fortunately, that’s where trading comes in.
Panini regularly hosts trading centers outside stores such as Walgreens, so collectors can meet and swap their duplicates.
On Saturday, people of all ages gathered outside of a Doral Walgreens on 9675 NW 41st St with a checklist on hand to keep track of their stickers, hoping to get one step closer to completing their albums.
“It’s about love for the sport of soccer,” said Panini representative Oscar Regalado. “The World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events in the world, and this is one way we celebrate it.”
Various attendees said their love of the game motivated them to collect the album.
“It’s my favorite sport,” said Manny Donaire, Panini sticker trader. “I want to be able to look back on every World Cup I watched.”
Collector Samuel Mayorga said he was around 80 percent done with his album and attributed much of his success to using the hashtag #gotgotneed on Twitter and Instagram to connect him to others looking to swap stickers.
Francisco Gonzalez attended the swap meet to gather stickers for his mother back in Mexico.
“She has five albums, two of them complete,” said Gonzalez in Spanish. “I want to finish this one and send it to her.”
Panini has released a sticker album for every World Cup since 1970, according to Panini Group.
In addition to the physical sticker album, Panini also offers a digital sticker album for computers and smartphones. According to FIFA, four million players have signed up so far, with just two percent of users having finished the album.