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|Founded||Jacksonville, Florida, 1995 (1995)|
|Headquarters||Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.|
|Michael Rubin, Chairman Doug Mack, CEO|
|Products||Licensed Sports Apparel & Collectibles|
Number of employees
Fanatics, Inc. is an American online retailer of licensed sportswear, sports equipment, and merchandise, formed in 1995 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Fanatics offers product via its Fanatics and FansEdge brands, as well as sports collectibles and memorabilia through Fanatics Authentic and SportsMemorabilia.com. Fanatics also currently operates the e-commerce websites of all major professional sports leagues (MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA, and UFC), major media brands (CBS Sports, FOX Sports, and NBC Sports), and over 150 collegiate and professional team properties.
Fanatics has relationships with over 1,080 vendors, including such companies as '47 Brand, Adidas, Majestic Athletic ("Majestic"), Mitchell & Ness, New Era, Nike, Reebok, Rock 'Em Apparel, Under Armour, and over 1,000 others. Fanatics, Inc. also owns Fanatics Apparel, which produces licensed sports apparel exclusively for the Fanatics umbrella of sites. Additional offices are located in Boulder, Colorado; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania; Deerfield, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and San Mateo, California.
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, store #2 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, Brian Swallow, in early 2000.
Fanatics' early success resulted from the implementation of an online business strategy created by Peter Dobbs, the owner of Enginess (formally Moveable Online) a Toronto, Canada based business transformation company. The initial strategy: to develop a white-labelled e-commerce model offering custom branded e-commerce stores to sports fan websites, team sites and sports message boards resulted in a rapid growth in revenue from 2000-2008. Fanatics was able to achieve this rapid growth with a single software engineer and business visionary Dobbs custom building the company's systems and marketing strategy from 2000 to 2005. Dobbs relocated to Jacksonville and operated as the CIO for the organization from 2003 ultimately resigning in 2006 to return to Canada while staying on in a consultative role till 2007. During this time Fanatics developed over 3,000 affiliate sites including many professional NFL and NCAA teams providing co-branding and custom e-commerce design and drove sales from nothing to over $75 million annually in under 8 years.
Fanatics further grew through affiliate marketing, repeat customer business, and acquisitions. The first acquisition (2006) was Richard Perel's Marketsville, Inc. sports web sites which included the top college e-commerce property CollegeFootballStore.com. 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 Rupp Shirts, based out of Tallahassee, Florida, and Demand Made.
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. Later that year, Fanatics acquired its Florida-based rival Dreams, Inc. for $158 million in cash and $25 million in debt.
Fanatics was ranked #42 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 in 2014.
In 2015, the NBA announced a multi-year partnership with Fanatics to operate its 25,000 sq ft flagship store in NYC. Since Fanatics also powers the online NBAStore.com, customers to the NYC Store are able to browse and purchase from the entire online inventory through in-store handheld devices.
In March 2016, the NFL and Fanatics agreed to a new long-term extension to operate NFLShop.com. 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.
In 2015, Fanatics obtained licence for 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. 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. 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. 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." In July 2017, it was revealed that the drivers only get as much as 1 to 3 percent of the profits that Fanatics make while Fanatics make 75 percent of the profit in sales. This has led drivers such as Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to be vocal about it and want to seek changes.
In 2017, the National Hockey League and partnership with adidas will unveil a new hockey jersey with Fanatics making the jerseys themselves as the new standard jersey for fans while adidas manufacturers the on-ice jerseys.
- "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.
- "Jacksonville-based Football Fanatics scores with $277 million sale". Jacksonville.com.
- "Newly-Minted Billionaire Is Spinning eBay Scraps Into Gold". Forbes. December 11, 2001.
- "Profile: Michael Rubin".
- "Score! Web Sports Retailer Fanatics Inc.Tops $3 Billion Valuation". Wall Street Journal.
- "Sports Apparel Purveyor Fanatics Swipes One Kings Lane Chief". Blogs.wsj.com.
- "Sports apparel e-retailer Fanatics hires a Williams-Sonoma exec". InternetRetailer.com.
- "Conshohocken Company to Run NBA Flagship Store in NYC". More Than The Curve. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Fanatics Signs Long-Term Extension Of NFL Deal, Expanding Rights". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "E-commerce giant Fanatics scores a new deal with the NFL". B2B E-Commerce World. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "FANATICS LAUNCHES NEW 'TRACKSIDE SUPERSTORE'". NASCAR.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "Souvenir haulers may return to some NASCAR races as merchandise program evolves". NBCSports.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "Revamped merchandise model will see more souvenir trailers at tracks". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- 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
- Daily Mail: "Meet Ricki Lander, 73-year-old Patriots owner Bob Kraft's bombshell girlfriend of three years - a dancer turned actress who is half his age" By ANNABEL FENWICK ELLIOTT 31 January 2015
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