History — Fanatics Inc (2023)

What began as a single e-commerce deal in 2002 has grown into a full-scale global digital sports platform and globally recognized consumer brand that is focused on serving more than 81 million fans and over 900 leading sports properties.

In 2002, Michael Rubin’s GSI Commerce secured its first e-commerce deal with NASCAR. Nine years later – with e-commerce rights from all North American sports leagues now within GSI – 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 in 2011. That same year, Rubin sold GSI to eBay for $2.4 billion and subsequently bought back the sports e-commerce business, keeping the name Fanatics for the new company moving forward. By then, the Fanatics brand included hundreds of e-commerce partners across North American leagues, teams and colleges.

Rubin’s vision was to create an entirely differentiated, real-time licensed sports merchandise experience for global fans and partners, who had been handcuffed by an industry that had not yet adapted to the new consumer-driven, on-demand world. Under new CEO Doug Mack, an emphasis was immediately placed on real-time manufacturing, data, and technology, which would underpin the company’s differentiated vertical commerce (v-commerce) model. Throughout the past decade, Fanatics has transformed from a domestic e-commerce company selling mostly third-party merchandise into a new breed of mobile-first, direct-to-consumer global brand with its own manufacturing capabilities to be able to serve the growing real-time expectations of fans worldwide. The company has executed eight acquisitions which have made it an industry-leader across e-commerce, apparel manufacturing and wholesale, memorabilia and collectibles and special event and in-stadium retail.

History — Fanatics Inc (1)

Rubin and Fanatics have also flexed swift dealmaking to innovate the licensed merchandise space. Through transformative partnerships with Nike for both the NFL and MLB, Fanatics became the exclusive designer, manufacturer and distributor of all Nike fan apparel and jerseys sold at retail for both leagues.

Fanatics’ vCommerce model, which prioritizes speed to market, efficiency, and a world-class product assortment to serve the increasing demand of fans and retailers, has enabled the company to become further ubiquitous across licensed sports by expanding its reach beyond the traditional avenues. In recent years, Fanatics has found ways to reach new shoppers, with an increased focus on women’s and kids’ products, through connected inventory relationships with leading big box retailers, including Walmart, Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s.

Additionally, Fanatics has prioritized growing the overall share of closet and 7-days-a-week style options by pioneering a robust “Better Brands” merchandise strategy. These include fashion-forward and lifestyle-driven partnerships with the likes of Vineyard Vines, WEAR by Erin Andrews, Tommy Hilfiger, Darius Rucker, DKNY Sport, and more.

History — Fanatics Inc (2)

History — Fanatics Inc (3)

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In 2020, Fanatics tapped further into the rich college landscape through a breakthrough deal with Barnes & Noble Education (BNED) and Lids, a leading brick-and-mortar sports retailer which is partly owned by Fanatics. Through this unique arrangement, the scale of Fanatics’ network grew as the company acquired rights to power the fan apparel experience across more than 750 BNED online bookstores.

As Fanatics saw its innovation across the licensed sports merchandise landscape continue to expand – with more than 8,000 employees across 40 global offices servicing partners in the biggest worldwide markets – the company set its sights on expanding beyond fan merchandise. In August 2021, Fanatics announced plans to evolve into a leading global digital sports platform through expansion into new verticals, including NFTs, trading cards, gambling and gaming, ticketing, media and more. With the move – which was also tied to a $325 million investment from current and new partners that brought Fanatics’ valuation to $18 billion - Rubin assumed the new role of CEO of the larger Fanatics company that exists today.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (4)

    April 2022

    Fanatics secures a $1.5B investment round which brings the company’s valuation to $27B. The round has participation from strategic partners including leagues, players associations and team owners.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (5)

    March 2022

    Launched zerocool, a part of Fanatics Collectibles and the first trading card brand solely focused on pop culture, art, and entertainment.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (6)

    (Video) Big Changes to Family History Fanatics Genealogy Channel on YouTube

    February 2022

    Fanatics, and some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment acquired iconic lifestyle brand Mitchell & Ness. Founded in 1904, Mitchell & Ness has established itself as a pioneer of authentic nostalgic jerseys, licensed lifestyle product, street fashion apparel and headwear.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (7)

    January 2022

    Fanatics acquires Topps, the preeminent licensed trading card brand that has serviced collectors, fans, and retailers for more than 70 years. Topps will become the cornerstone of the Fanatics Collectibles business.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (8)

    September 2021

    Fanatics Collectibles secures $350 million Series A at $10.4 billion valuation. Josh Luber joins as co-founder and chief vision officer.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (9)

    August 2021

    Fanatics Collectibles secures long-term manufacturing and distribution rights from MLB, MLBPA, NBA, NBPA, and NFLPA.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (10)

    August 2021

    Fanatics secures $325 million round at new $18 billion valuation; Confirms plans to build the leading digital sports platform.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (11)

    March 2021

    Fanatics secures Series F funding round, led by existing investors, more than doubling the company’s valuation in less than six months

  • History — Fanatics Inc (12)

    February 2021

    Fanatics China, a joint venture with Hillhouse Capital, is launched to unlock the massive licensed sports business in China

  • History — Fanatics Inc (13)

    December 2020

    Fanatics acquires WinCraft, the preeminent licensed hardgoods and promotional products company.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (14)

    September 2020

    Fanatics acquires assets from Vetta Brands, including Top of the World, the leading collegiate headwear retailer.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (15)

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    April 2020

    Michael Rubin launches the ALL IN Challenge, one of the largest digital fundraisers in history which raises $60 million to feed those in need throughout the pandemic.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (16)

    March 2020

    Fanatics and MLB halt production of MLB jerseys to instead use that same material to manufacture masks and gowns for emergency personnel battling COVID-19.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (17)

    January 2019

    MLB, Nike & Fanatics announce a similar 10-year deal, providing Fanatics with exclusive rights to manufacture & distribute all Nike MLB fan gear sold at retail.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (18)

    May 2018

    The NFL, Nike and Fanatics announce a 10-year deal that grants Fanatics exclusive consumer product licensing rights to manufacture and distribute all Nike NFL adult products.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (19)

    October 2017

    Fanatics acquires Fermata Partners to transform the college licensed sports business; a new Fanatics College division is formed.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (20)

    September 2017

    Fanatics closes a $1 billion funding round lead by SoftBank’s Vison Fund, with participation from NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS and NFLPA.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (21)

    April 2017

    Fanatics acquires VF Licensed Sports Group, including trusted apparel brand Majestic, to further build vCommerce capabilities.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (22)

    November 2016

    Fanatics and Uber pilot innovative on-demand delivery program to celebrate historic Cubs World Series title.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (23)

    February 2016

    Fanatics acquires UK-based internet retailer Kitbag to accelerate focus around international expansion and global soccer.

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  • History — Fanatics Inc (24)

    August 2015

    Fanatics raises $300 million from Silver Lake Partners.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (25)

    April 2014

    Fanatics names Doug Mack as CEO, and opens Bay Area office to tap into an elite Silicon Valley pool.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (26)

    June 2013

    Fanatics raises $170 million in a new funding round led by Temasek Holdings and Alibaba Group; valuation climbs to $3.1 billion.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (27)

    April 2012

    Fanatics raises $150 million from Insight Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz; acquires Dreams, Inc.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (28)

    March 2011

    Michael Rubin sells GSI Commerce to eBay for $2.4 billion and buys back the sports ecommerce business, keeping the name Fanatics for the new company.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (29)

    February 2011

    GSI Commerce acquires Fanatics, a Florida-based company that operates e-commerce for many pro and college teams.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (30)


    Following NASCAR deal, GSI acquires e-commerce rights to Big Four North America leagues.

  • History — Fanatics Inc (31)


    GSI Commerce signs first-ever league deal with NASCAR.

(Video) The Battle of Abu Klea - British Troops do battle with Fanatics (1885)


Who founded Fanatics? ›

Michael Rubin is the founder and CEO of online sports merchandising retailer Fanatics. After dropping out of Villanova University, Rubin started GSI Commerce, which he sold to eBay for $2.4 billion in 2011.

Who owns Fanatics brand? ›

History. Michael G. Rubin is the CEO of Fanatics. 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.

How long has Fanatics been around? ›

What began as a single e-commerce deal in 2002 has grown into a full-scale global digital sports platform and globally recognized consumer brand that is focused on serving more than 81 million fans and over 900 leading sports properties.

How did Fanatics grow? ›

Building a juggernaut

Much of Fanatics' growth has been generated through acquisitions, particularly during a pandemic shopping spree.

What is the meaning of Fanatics? ›

/fəˈnæt̬·ɪk/ a person whose strong admiration for something is extreme and unreasonable: a fitness/exercise fanatic.

Where is Fanatics headquartered? ›

Fanatics is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the US.

When and why was Fanatics started? ›

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.

How much was Fanatics sold for? ›

The purchaser runs online sports gear business.

GSI Commerce Inc., based in King of Prussia, Pa., announced this week it has agreed to purchase Fanatics Inc., the parent company of Football Fanatics. GSI would purchase Fanatics Inc. for $171 million in cash and $106 million of GSI common stock.

How does Fanatics make money? ›

Commerce. Fanatics possesses an innovative vertical commerce business model that allows the company to quickly design, manufacture and distribute high quality fan gear, jerseys, lifestyle and streetwear products, headwear and hardgoods.

What type of company is Fanatics? ›

Fanatics Commerce is the world's largest manufacturer and provider of licensed sports merchandise, and the same innovation and differentiation the company applied to the antiquated licensed apparel industry is now being optimized across the entire sports ecosystem, including physical and digital trading cards and ...

Where was Fanatics started? ›

Is Fanatics a good company to work for? ›

Great workplace culture. There's a lot of perks to get job, including discounts on merchandise, free tickets to games, etc. However, pay for sales is well below market rate.

Who is Fanatics competitor? ›

fanatics.com's top 5 competitors in November 2022 are: fansedge.com, nflshop.com, dickssportinggoods.com, rallyhouse.com, and more.

What companies invested in Fanatics? ›

The existing investors in the new raise include Silver Lake, Fidelity, and Softbank. Fanatics was previously valued at $27 billion. In March, the company raised $1.5 billion led by Fidelity and Blackrock and Michael Dell's MSD Partners. Fanatics has seen rapid growth over the past year.

Is Fanatics a monopoly? ›

Fanatics is essentially becoming their own monopoly in the three sports that make up the majority of sports card collecting in the US. And there is plenty of indication that they plan to shake some things up.

Is Fanatics a real company? ›

Fanatics isn't just our name. It's who we are—loyal, passionate fans, dedicated to our favorite teams and to the sports we love. That's why we're honored to be able to offer fans the world's largest collection of official sports apparel from all the leagues, teams and players you love.

What is the symbol for Fanatics? ›

Fanatics (FANA) Stock Price Today, Quote & News | Seeking Alpha.

Is Fanatics still a group? ›

Fanatics (Korean: 파나틱스; stylized as FANATICS) is a seven-member South Korean girl group formed by FENT in 2018.
Fanatics (group)
Years active2019–present
MembersDoi Chaelin Chiayi Via Yoonhye Rayeon Doah
6 more rows

How many factories does Fanatics have? ›

With more than 50 offices & facilities across the globe, Fanatics is best positioned to service fans & partners anytime, anywhere.

How many employees are at Fanatics? ›

Does Fanatics have physical stores? ›

With more than 50 physical store locations worldwide, ranging from in-venue stadiums and arenas to flagship locations, Fanatics offers dynamic solutions to partners looking to seamlessly blend the online and offline shopping experience for their passionate fanbases.

How much of Fanatics does Jay Z own? ›

According to the terms of the deal, Fanatics owns 75 percent with 25 percent purchased by Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Maverick Carter, Lil Baby, and others. Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO and a partner with the Philadelphia 76ers, described the sports clothing company as an “iconic brand” with a limitless future.

Who is the CEO of Fanatics? ›

How much is Michael Rubin worth? ›

Does NFL own Fanatics? ›

News Across the U.S. Access the digital replica of USA TODAY and more than 200 local newspapers with your subscription. While the NFL is now a stakeholder in Fanatics, the company's chairman, Michael Rubin, remains the largest shareholder, owning about 70 percent of the business.


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