- As investors pour millions into e-commerce startups, digital sports platform Fanatics raised an additional $325 million in funding, according to sources close to the company. Fanatics is now valued at $18 billion.
- Fanatics aims to build new large-scale digital sports businesses beyond vertical commerce, through the upcoming launch of gaming, sports betting and media.
- Executive Chairman Michael Rubin will become the CEO of the broader Fanatics company. Doug Mack, the company's vertical commerce CEO, will continue overseeing the platform's v-commerce arm and take on responsibilities as Fanatics' vice chairman.
With an $18 billion valuation, Fanatics has tripled its value over the past year. It now aims to leverage its rights-holder relationships and sports database, which currently has 80 million sports fans, to transition from a vertical commerce company to an international digital sports platform.
The most recent funding round includes investors Jay-Z, his entertainment company Roc Nation, SoftBank, Silver Lake, Eldridge, TWG Sports & Entertainment, MLB and Insight Partners.
The company was valued at nearly $13 billion in March, with a $320 million funding round from existing investors. The company said at the time it planned to use the funds to acquire more licensing rights, international expansion, and to scale its vertical model of e-commerce.
Fanatics has also been building out its C-suite to support its business expansion strategy. Glenn Schiffman, who was most recently IAC's CFO, was named CFO of the company. Tucker Kain, who was the president of the LA Dodgers, was named chief strategy and growth officer. And Matt King, former CEO of FanDuel, will work with Rubin on building large-scale digital companies where Fanatics will be the majority owner.
Prior to expanding into other lines of business, Fanatics reportedly acquired some assets, inventory and college licensing rights of Vetta Brands, including its Top of the World division. The company last year also acquired licensed sports merchandise company WinCraft.
Two years ago the platform teamed up with Kohl's to integrate its apparel, jerseys and other merchandise on the retailer's website. That year it also partnered with Walmart ahead of the Super Bowl to launch a specialty shop of fan gear on Walmart's website. And in 2018, the company introduced team apparel shops at some J.C. Penney stores.