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Soccer fans could pay around $1,000 to complete the official World Cup 2018 sticker collection

CNBC International 2018-06-13 17:16:19
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Why soccer fans are spending hundreds on Panini World Cup stickers    54 Mins Ago | 03:52

Playing at a soccer World Cup is a dream for millions of kids — and grown-ups — all over the globe and this upcoming 2018 tournament in Russia will be no different.

Relatively few ever get to realize that ambition, but there is another World Cup target that still unites fans every time the competition comes around again: completing the tournament's official sticker album.

In the U.K., a packet of five stickers is 80 pence ($1) and this edition contains 682 individual stickers, including the now famous "shineys" (metallic stickers) of all 32 teams taking part.

Italian manufacturer Panini is once again the architect of the latest official sticker album and has been producing collections since 1961, with the first World Cup edition making it to U.K. shores for the Mexico 1970 tournament.

"It's a shared experience. It's something you can do with the whole family and continues the conversation of football." Panini Special Projects Editor Nick Clark told CNBC.

"From 2010 we've noticed a lot people swapping their stickers on Twitter and across social media. That second generation is important to us, as they will collect with their kids and will pass on the pleasure of collecting stickers," he added.

A formula concocted by professors at Cardiff University in Wales suggests that anyone brave enough to attempt to complete their collection by themselves would have to purchase 967 sticker packets, with a total of 4,832 stickers costing nearly $1,000.

Mauro Pimentel | AFP | Getty Images

However, once the idea of swapping any duplicates or unwanted stickers is introduced, even amongst just 10 people, the overall cost is likely to be cut by two thirds.

The interaction with other sticker-collecting enthusiasts and the swapping that goes on in person and online is an important attribute to Panini and to anyone hoping to complete an album, with the hashtag #gotgotneed regularly trending across social media.

"We see people buying stickers up in the financial district, we see people swapping in pubs and across social media. We'll always support the idea of people swapping." Clark said in reference to second generation adult collectors.

The traditional sticker album has also been upgraded to the digital age. This edition also comes in app form. The principle remains the same, but fan engagement with FIFA and some of its World Cup sponsors also has a big role.

During that last tournament Brazil 2014, 195 million virtual packets were opened and over 243 million stickers swapped. It seems you never know who you might end up swapping with as well, as celebrities including musician Ed Sheeran were among those busy finishing off their collection ahead of the World Cup.