Fanatics (sports retailer)

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IndustryTextile, E-commerce, trading cards and collectibles, digital collectibles/NFT's, sports betting and iGaming
FoundedJacksonville, Florida, 2011 (2011)
FounderMichael Rubin
Jacksonville, Florida
New York, New York
Manchester, UK
Area served
Key people
Michael Rubin, CEO
Doug Mack, Vice Chairman & Fanatics Commerce CEO
Glenn H. Schiffman, EVP & CFO
Tucker Kain, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer
ProductsLicensed sports apparel, trading cards, digital collectibles/NFTs
Mitchell & Ness[1]
Top of the World
OwnerMichael Rubin
Number of employees
SubsidiariesCandy Digital by Fanatics,[2][3]
Fanatics Collectibles,[4][5][6]
Fanatics Betting & Gaming [7]

Fanatics, Inc.  is a global digital sports platform that has offerings including licensed sports merchandise (Fanatics Commerce); trading cards and collectibles (Fanatics Collectibles); digital collectibles & NFTs (Candy Digital by Fanatics);[8] and sports betting and iGaming (Fanatics Betting & Gaming). [9][10][11]

The company began as an American online retailer of licensed sportswear and merchandise, which operates the e-commerce businesses of major professional sports leagues and media brands, as well as hundreds of collegiate and professional team properties.


Michael G. Rubin is the founder and CEO of Fanatics.[12] In 1998, Rubin created an apparel and logistics company, Global Sports Incorporated, which would later turn into GSI Commerce, a multibillion-dollar e-commerce company.[13][14] In 2011, Rubin acquired Fanatics, a Florida-based sports retailer which had an e-commerce presence across college and professional teams, and merged these new assets into GSI.[15] Rubin sold GSI to eBay later that year for $2.4 billion and bought back the sports e-commerce business, which included online stores for all North American sports leagues along with hundreds of teams and colleges, keeping the name Fanatics for the new company moving forward.[16]

Early Years[edit]

In April 2012, Fanatics raised $150 million from Insight Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz and acquired its Florida-based rival Dreams, Inc. for $158 million in cash and $25 million in debt.[17] This move added the brands Fans Edge and Mounted Memories, which was rebranded as Fanatics Authentic division.[18]

Rubin’s vision was to differentiate Fanatics by serving the real-time expectations of global sports fans and partners.[19][20] In 2014, Doug Mack was appointed CEO and Fanatics opened a Bay Area office to tap into the Silicon Valley tech talent pool.[21][22] Mack helped Fanatics move from a domestic e-commerce business to a mobile-first, direct-to-consumer brand with its own manufacturing capabilities.[23].[24] Priorities such as real-time manufacturing, data, and technology, would guide the company’s innovative vertical commerce (v-commerce) model.[25][26]

In 2015, Fanatics raised $300 million from Silver Lake Partners and in early 2016 the company acquired UK-based internet retailer Kitbag to accelerate focus around international expansion and global soccer.[27][28]

In April 2017, Fanatics bought sportswear and merchandise manufacturer and MLB uniform provider Majestic Athletic from VF Corporation in an effort to add to the company’s growing vertical manufacturing capabilities. Nike would eventually take over as MLB’s official on-field uniform partner, with Fanatics using the existing facilities acquired during the Majestic acquisition to now make Nike MLB uniforms.[29]

In September 2017, Fanatics closed a $1 billion round of fundraising led by Softbank, with participation from the NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS and NFLPA. As of that year, Fanatics was expected to produce $2.2 billion in annual revenue.[30] The next month, Fanatics acquired Fermata Partners to transform the college licensed sports business and a new Fanatics College division was formed.[31]

On January 29, 2019, it was announced that Fanatics and Walmart reached a deal to start selling its apparel on Walmart's website.[32] In September 2019, a forecast released on CNBC suggested the company was targeting $2.5 billion in sales, up from $2.2 billion in 2018.[33]

In 2021, Fanatics acquired the exclusive rights to manufacture Trading Cards for MLB,[34] NBA,[35][36] and NFLPA,[37] starting 2026.[36][34] In August 2021, Fanatics closed a $325 million funding with an $18 billion valuation.[38] Also, in August 2021, Michael Rubin became CEO of the company with Doug Mack becoming the CEO of Fanatics Commerce.[39]

In January 2022, Fanatics announced they acquired Topps for $500 million.[35] In March 2022, Fanatics closed a $1.7 billion round of fundraising led by Fidelity, BlackRock, and MSD Capital LP with a $27 billion valuation.[40]

Fanatics has relationships with over 1,080 product vendors, including such companies as Empire Warehouse, Freeworld, Front Row Couture, ‘47 Brand, Adidas, Air Jordan, Majestic, Mitchell & Ness, New Era, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Rock 'Em Apparel, Under Armour, and over 1,000 others. Fanatics, Inc. also owns Fanatics Apparel, which produces licensed sports apparel. Additional offices are located in Boulder, Colorado; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania; Rockwall, Texas; Roanoke, Texas; Deerfield, Illinois; Arlington, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Irving, Texas; San Mateo, California; and Memphis, Tennessee.[41]

Sports leagues[edit]


In 2015, the NBA announced a multi-year partnership with Fanatics to operate its 25,000 sq ft flagship store in New York City.[42] Since Fanatics also operates the online, customers of the New York City store are able to browse and purchase from the entire online inventory through in-store handheld devices.[citation needed]


In March 2016, the NFL and Fanatics agreed to a new long-term extension to operate[43] The NFLPA also granted Fanatics the rights for player merchandise. Fanatics will replace Nike as the largest maker and seller of player merchandise starting in March 2017.[44]


In 2015, Fanatics obtained a licence from NASCAR to sell the merchandise trackside at all 36 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and select NASCAR Xfinity Series races. This contract eliminated car owner and sponsor-owned merchandising haulers, which had previously sold mixed merchandise and limited edition items in favor of a singular "superstore" shopping area with one checkout zone for all merchandise, generally located outside one track entrance. It was initiated in August 2015 at the Pocono Raceway.[45] By 2017 however, the plan was considered a failure due to limited merchandise and poor foot traffic, and it led to a decline in overall at-track merchandise sales.[46] Larger tracks such as Daytona International Speedway utilized the first turn for merchandising, however, the majority of fans did not enter through this area as well as the many fans camping infield. Sponsors were unable to find places for drivers to initiate fan contact as they had previously in merchandise haulers for events such as autograph signings.[citation needed]

Fanatics currently employs a "hybrid" system with a blend of haulers and smaller Fanatics tents (size/space varies per track). This allows Fanatics to reach more fans, especially once inside the gates and has reopened the door for NASCAR and driver sponsor interaction. Fanatics President Ross Tannenbaum indicated, "We've got all this money and all this product invested [in the tent] and it's sitting outside the gates where there is nobody coming [while the race is happening]. All those people are inside and at some point walking around or doing something and there's a very poor product offering. To have the best shopping experience, our goal would be to have a really strong offering of product out front like we have today but do a better job of having destination shopping inside the track."[47] In July 2017, it was revealed that the drivers only get as little as 1 to 3 percent of the profits that Fanatics make while Fanatics make 75 percent of the profit. This has led drivers such as Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to be vocal and seek changes. On November 2, 2018, Fanatics announced they would no longer provide the trailers for the series as the series continues its decline, though Fanatics would continue with online sales until 2024.[48]


In 2017, the National Hockey League partnered with adidas and unveiled a new hockey jersey with Fanatics making the jerseys themselves as the new standard jersey for fans while adidas manufactures the on-ice jerseys.[citation needed]


In December 2015, MLB announced a merchandise deal that split the rights between Fanatics and Nike.

In August 2021, it was announced that Fanatics would take over the MLB baseball cards license from Topps after 2026. With the subsequent purchase of Topps by Fanatics in January 2022, the license began immediately.[49]


MLS and Fanatics began their partnership in 2017.[citation needed]

Other ventures[edit]

In January 2015, Fanatics began selling a collection of casual womenswear designed by Ricki Noel Lander called Let Loose By RNL.[50] In October 2019, Fanatics teamed up with sports broadcaster Erin Andrews on a line of clothing.[51]

In 2018, Fanatics announced a multi-year partnership with the Overwatch League to sell team and League clothing and other merchandise. This represents Fanatics' first venture into esports merchandising.[52]

In June 2020, Fanatics announced a ten-year licensing, manufacturing and e-commerce partnership with French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain.[53]


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