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.


Formed in 1995, Fanatics, Inc. was originally started when brothers Alan and Mitch Trager opened Football Fanatics, a brick-and-mortar storefront in the Orange Park Mall, focused on the Jacksonville Jaguars and local collegiate team merchandise. By 1997, a second store had opened in the Avenues Mall. Brent Trager focused on achieving an online presence for the retail company, hiring its first dedicated e-commerce focused employee in early 2000.[12]

Fanatics' early success resulted from a business strategy which targeted and partnered with websites with quality content and domain names. The company began as a customer-centric organization with its mission of "To consider the customer first in everything we do."[12] Fanatics further grew through affiliate marketing, repeat customer business, and acquisitions. The first acquisition (2006) was Richard Perel's Marketsville, Inc. sports websites which included the top college e-commerce property At the time, Marketsville, Inc. accounted for close to 25% of Fanatics' online sales as an affiliate. Richard Perel stayed on board as a marketing executive at Fanatics until 2014, helping the company secure funding at a $3.1 billion valuation in 2013. Subsequent acquisitions were RuppShirts, based out of Tallahassee, Florida, and Demand Made.[citation needed]

In 2011, Fanatics, Inc. was purchased by GSI Commerce, led by chairman Michael G. Rubin, for $171 million in cash and $106 million in GSI common stock.[13]

In 2012, Rubin purchased Fanatics outright from eBay, along with a 70% stake in Rue La La and ShopRunner, and formed the umbrella company Kynetic as a parent company.[14] Later that year, Fanatics acquired its Florida-based rival Dreams, Inc. for $158 million in cash and $25 million in debt.[15] In June 2012, Fanatics closed a $150 million round of fundraising led by Insight Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz with a $1.5 billion valuation.[16]

In June 2013, Fanatics closed a $170 million round of fundraising with a $3.1 billion valuation.[16] Michael Rubin owns 72% of Fanatics[17] after the last round of venture capital funding.

In April 2014, Doug Mack became the CEO of the company, now with approximately 1,800 employees.[18] Prior CEO Alan Trager retired at the age of 60. Fanatics was ranked #42 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 in 2014.[19]

In April 2017, Fanatics bought sportswear and merchandise manufacturer Majestic Athletic from VF Corporation.[20] Majestic was the exclusive on-field uniform provider of the MLB from 2005 to 2019. The deal was a move to replace Majestic as the MLB provider beginning with the 2020 season, after Fanatics had signed an agreement with Under Armour. MLB's Under Armour uniform contract deal fell through, and instead Nike took over said contract in 2020.[21]

In September 2017, Fanatics closed a $1 billion round of fundraising led by Softbank with a $4.5 billion valuation. As of that year, Fanatics was expected to produce $2.2 billion in annual revenue.[22]

On January 29, 2019, it was announced that Fanatics and Walmart reached a deal to start selling its apparel on Walmart's website.[23] 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.[24]

In 2021, Fanatics acquired the exclusive rights to manufacture Trading Cards for MLB,[25] NBA,[26][27] and NFLPA,[28] starting 2026.[27][25] In August 2021, Fanatics closed a $325 million funding with an $18 billion valuation.[29] Also, in August 2021, Michael Rubin became CEO of the company with Doug Mack becoming the CEO of Fanatics Commerce.[30]

In January 2022, Fanatics announced they acquired Topps for $500 million.[26] 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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33] 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[34] 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.[35]


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.[36] 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.[37] 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."[38] 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.[39]


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.[40]


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.[41] In October 2019, Fanatics teamed up with sports broadcaster Erin Andrews on a line of clothing.[42]

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.[43]

In June 2020, Fanatics announced a ten-year licensing, manufacturing and e-commerce partnership with French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain.[44]


  1. ^ "Michael Rubin's Fanatics, Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Lil Baby, and More Acquire Mitchell & Ness for $250 Million". Complex Networks.
  2. ^ "Fanatics' NFT company is worth $1.5 billion, and NFL legend Peyton Manning now owns a stake". CNBC. 21 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Candy Digital Launches MLB Secondary Marketplace". 19 January 2022.
  4. ^ Bhasin, Kim (8 March 2022). "Fanatics Sets Plan for Trading-Card Business, Starts New Brand". Bloomberg. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Fanatics Collectibles".
  6. ^ "Fanatics acquires Topps trading cards for $500 million". CNBC. 4 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Fanatics Betting and Gaming".
  8. ^ "Fanatics' Tucker Kain dishes on new business, IPO possibility".
  9. ^ Bobrowsky, Meghan (10 August 2021). "Fanatics Valuation Rises to $18 Billion as It Plans to Expand Sports Offerings". Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ "Sports merchandise company Fanatics now valued at $18 billion with new investors including hip-hop mogul Jay-Z". CNBC. 10 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Fanatics Valued at $27 Billion in Latest Funding Round".
  12. ^ a b Conte, Christian (January 21, 2012). "Fanatics CEO reflects on company's past and future". Jacksonville Business Journal. No. January 27th Edition of JBJ. p. 1. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  13. ^ "Jacksonville-based Football Fanatics scores with $277 million sale". The Florida Times-Union. Archived from the original on 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
  14. ^ "Newly-Minted Billionaire Is Spinning eBay Scraps Into Gold". Forbes. December 11, 2001.
  15. ^ "Fanatics buying Dreams for about $158 million". Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  16. ^ a b "Score! Web Sports Retailer Fanatics Inc.Tops $3 Billion Valuation". Wall Street Journal.
  17. ^ "Profile: Michael Rubin".
  18. ^ Bensinger, Greg (9 April 2014). "Sports Apparel Purveyor Fanatics Swipes One Kings Lane Chief".
  19. ^ "Sports apparel e-retailer Fanatics hires a Williams-Sonoma exec".
  20. ^ Fanatics buys Majestic by Dan O'Shea on Retail Dive, 4 Apr 2017
  21. ^ Jacksonville’s Fanatics Inc. to acquire Majestic sports apparel company by Drew Dixon on, 5 Apr 2017
  22. ^ "Given an assist, sports e-commerce giant Fanatics closes that $1 billion round led by SoftBank". TechCrunch. September 6, 2017. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  23. ^ "Walmart Scores Big Against Amazon With Fanatics Sports Gear Deal". Fortune.
  24. ^ "Fanatics Names Nike Exec CFO". CNBC. 17 September 2019.
  25. ^ a b Young, Jabari (2021-08-19). "MLB will end 70-year deal with trading card company Topps". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  26. ^ a b Young, Jabari (2022-01-04). "Fanatics acquires Topps trading cards for $500 million". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  27. ^ a b Beer, Tommy. "Report: Fanatics Strikes Again, Set To Become Exclusive Licensee For NBA Trading Cards". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  28. ^ Munar, Julio Luis (2021-08-25). "Fanatics Takes NFL Cards From Panini To Complete Sole Control Of Big 3 Sports Cards". ClutchPoints. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  29. ^ Bobrowsky, Meghan (2021-08-10). "WSJ News Exclusive | Fanatics Valuation Rises to $18 Billion as It Plans to Expand Sports Offerings". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  30. ^ Risley |, James (2021-08-31). "Michael Rubin becomes CEO of expanded Fanatics organization". Digital Commerce 360. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  31. ^ Beaton, Miriam Gottfried and Andrew (2022-03-02). "WSJ News Exclusive | Fanatics Raises $1.5 Billion at $27 Billion Valuation". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  32. ^ "Why the world's largest licensed sports merchandise retailer is moving hundreds of jobs to San Mateo". Silicon Valley Business Journal. May 4, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  33. ^ "Conshohocken Company to Run NBA Flagship Store in NYC". More Than The Curve. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  34. ^ "Fanatics Signs Long-Term Extension Of NFL Deal, Expanding Rights". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  35. ^ "E-commerce giant Fanatics scores a new deal with the NFL". B2B E-Commerce World. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  36. ^ "FANATICS LAUNCHES NEW 'TRACKSIDE SUPERSTORE'". NASCAR. Archived from the original on 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  37. ^ "Souvenir haulers may return to some NASCAR races as merchandise program evolves". 9 May 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  38. ^ "Revamped merchandise model will see more souvenir trailers at tracks". ESPN. May 9, 2017. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  39. ^ "Fanatics to bring early end to its deal selling NASCAR merchandise". Nov 2, 2018. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  40. ^ Young, Jabari (2022-01-04). "Fanatics acquires Topps trading cards for $500 million". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  41. ^ Fanatics website: "Let Loose by RNL is a Contemporary Women's Fanwear Line Designed by American Actress, Model and Designer Ricki Noel Lander" retrieved August 8, 2016
  42. ^ "Erin Andrews Designs Clothes for Fanatics". WWD. October 2, 2019.
  43. ^ Holt, Kris (December 3, 2018). "Overwatch League lands major merchandise deal with Fanatics". Engadget. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  44. ^ Kochkodin, Brandon (June 30, 2020). "Paris Saint-Germain Signs 10-Year Merchandise Deal With Fanatics". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 30, 2020.

External links[edit]