Mike Mahan appointed CEO of Fanatics Collectibles

Digital sports platform Fanatics has announced the appointment of Mike Mahan as CEO of Fanatics Collectibles, the company’s trading cards and collectibles business.

In this newly created role, Mahan will develop the overall vision and corporate strategy for Fanatics Collectibles and oversee its full portfolio of physical and digital collectibles brands, which includes Topps, the trading cards brand; Candy Digital, a next-gen digital collectibles company, and zerocool, a trading cards brand solely focused on pop culture, art and entertainment. Mahan, a long-time collector himself, will report directly to Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.

Mahan joins Fanatics after running Dick Clark Productions, the world’s largest producer of television events including the Golden Globe Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards, where he served as CEO. While there, he guided the company to seven consecutive years of record growth and profits and successfully drove large viewership across entertainment products, responsibilities that align with the broader collectibles market becoming a content engine driven by exceptional products. Overall, Mike has more than two decades of experience working at the intersection of digital media, content creation, influencer marketing, entertainment, and finance.

“Our collectibles business has seen tremendous growth since launching last year, and we couldn’t be more confident in bringing Mike on board to shape the bright future of this division and its alignment within our larger Fanatics digital sports platform,” says Rubin. “As a collector and passionate sports fan, Mike’s vision for both the trading cards hobby and emerging digital collectibles properties, driven by exceptional products, will further position Fanatics as a leader in these categories, creating incredible opportunities for fans, collectors, hobby shops, retailers and our partners.”

As the opportunities for collectors and fans to purchase and engage with physical and digital collectibles grows – fuelled by innovative content, social marketing, and influencer involvement – Mike’s experience and personal passion provides a strong background to lead the business, grow the overall industry and create new levels of participation for both existing and new collectors. His number one focus will be growing the total number of collectors globally across the category.

“I could not think of a more perfect next step in my career than to lead the incredibly talented teams within Fanatics Collectibles, where I’ll have the opportunity to combine my entrepreneurial passions that lie within sports, marketing, and content creation, with my love for trading cards and collectibles at large,” says Mahan. “The worlds of trading cards and digital collectibles have been forever reshaped over the past several years, and these new assets and the connections they create have the ability to bring fans and collectors closer than ever before to the players, teams and entertainers they love.”

In addition, Mike will be tasked with executing the global, exclusive rights and future rights that live within the Fanatics Collectibles portfolio, including preeminent players associations, sports leagues, professional and college teams, top student-athletes, brands and entertainment properties. The business will continue to serve fans, collectors and partners across all channels – direct-to-consumer, hobby shops, and retailers – while opening doors to new businesses for Fanatics Collectibles, such as breaking, secondary marketplaces, and more. He will leverage incredible relationships with top talent to align with one of Fanatics’ future collectibles strategies; working with the biggest names in sports and entertainment to promote the company’s physical and digital collectibles products.

Mike began his career as an investment banker for Bear Stearns and worked in private equity at CDP Capital Entertainment, a division of Caisse de Dépôt. A graduate of UCLA, where he studied business and economics, Mike is or has been an investor in several media, sports, gaming, and consumer properties, including Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A affiliate of the LA Dodgers), Axiomatic’s Team Liquid, Next VR and Aviation Gin.


MotoGP teams with Fanatics to serve fans worldwide

Dorna Sports has announced a long-term strategic partnership with Fanatics, a leading provider of licensed sports merchandise and global digital sports platform, to significantly enhance the shopping experience for MotoGP fans.

The deal will see MotoGP enjoy Fanatics’ innovative vertical commerce model, with Fanatics acquiring exclusive global e-commerce rights and obtaining the licence to create MotoGP apparel, increasing the range of merchandise available to fans, wherever they may be in the world.

MotoGP is the world’s first motorsport World Championship, having begun in 1949. Now racing in five continents over 20 races a season, the sport welcomes millions of fans through the gates each year at the track and reaches nearly half a billion homes across more than 200 countries – enjoying a truly global fanbase.

The newly revamped online MotoGP store, store.motogp.com, which launches today, ensures fans have access to a new, technology-laced e-commerce platform powered by Fanatics’ industry-leading Cloud Commerce Platform. The global nature of the MotoGP fanbase will see Fanatics launch the site in six different languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Japanese. The transformed site will provide MotoGP fans with a best-in-class shopping experience, whether shopping online or via mobile, featuring hi-resolution product displays, frictionless checkout, and the quickest access to new product offerings.

Fanatics, which has offices and distribution centres in 13 countries, partners with more than 900 of the most recognised and successful sporting organisations in the world, including the NFL, NBA, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, England Rugby and Formula One.

Marc Saurina, Senior Director of Global Commercial Partnerships at Dorna Sports, says: “We’re delighted to partner with Fanatics to revolutionise the shopping experience for our fans around the world. The new store looks incredible and we look forward to working together on creating an even wider range of MotoGP merchandise, with something for every fan. With our sport enjoying such a global audience, Fanatics is the perfect partner for MotoGP thanks to their global presence and vast experience.”

Matthew Primack, Senior Vice-President of International Business Development at Fanatics, adds: “We are proud to partner with MotoGP to help serve its passionate global fanbase. We’ll work closely with the great MotoGP team to create a comprehensive offering that will provide fans with the widest assortment of on-trend, quality merchandise. With our experience, global capabilities and passion to serve fans with the merchandise they want, when they want it, MotoGP fans will enjoy an assortment of quality products, wherever they are shopping in the world.”

Starting Lineup is back

Hasbro, Inc., in partnership with global digital sports platform Fanatics, has announced the official re-launch of Starting Lineup, an iconic sports collectibles brand. Set to launch this autumn, the new product line will continue its legacy of bringing fans and collectors their favourite athletes in action figure form.

Starting September 22, products from the Starting Lineup brand will be available exclusively on Hasbro Pulse and across the Fanatics network of online sites, including Fanatics.com and official league stores.  

“We’re thrilled to be bringing back one of the most beloved sports collectibles brands of all time, Starting Lineup, and to be teaming up with Fanatics for its highly anticipated return this fall,” says Eric Nyman, President and COO of Hasbro. “The fast-growing sports collectibles category presents great opportunities to connect with fans of all ages, and we’ve got many exciting announcements to come from the brand in the months ahead.” 

Originally launched in 1988, the Starting Lineup brand developed a massive following by bringing enthusiasts figures of their favourite all-star players from a variety of sports for more than a decade. The return of the brand will introduce an all-new era of notable athletes to its classic heritage with figures featuring design like never before.  

“Hasbro’s Starting Lineup is an iconic collectibles brand, and Fanatics is thrilled to be the exclusive partner to help re-launch this historic product line and introduce a new generation of sports stars to fans and collectors everywhere,” says Jack Boyle, Fanatics Commerce Global Co-President of Direct-to-Consumer. 

For more information on the upcoming launch of the Starting Lineup brand, as well as a teaser trailer, visit Hasbro Pulse | Where Fans Come First.


WWE and Fanatics announce sports and entertainment partnership

WWE and Fanatics have announced a comprehensive, long-term sports and entertainment partnership that will see Fanatics utilise its expanded digital sports platform to create a new, enhanced experience for WWE fans globally across several businesses, including e-commerce and licensed merchandise, as well as physical, digital, and non-fungible token (NFT) trading cards.

Through the ground-breaking deal, WWE will benefit from many capabilities across the Fanatics platform to create more opportunities for its global fanbase to showcase their pride and passion for WWE, its marquee events, and star-studded roster.

The businesses that will work together to create an elevated fan experience include Fanatics Commerce, Fanatics Collectibles and Candy Digital.

“Fanatics is the industry leader and Michael Rubin is a visionary,” says Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “We believe this multi-platform partnership will set a new standard for WWE e-commerce, apparel and merchandise, while providing our fans globally with more ways than ever to engage with WWE and our Superstars.”

As part of the agreement, this summer Fanatics will exclusively re-introduce a new, rapid e-commerce and mobile destination, WWE Shop, giving fans around the world access to a leading assortment of WWE merchandise across all categories, including apparel, hard goods such as title belts, headwear, accessories and more.

Fanatics will work closely and collaboratively with the teams at WWE who have significantly grown this business in-house for decades, and the company will also add rights to design, manufacture and distribute real-time, on-demand merchandise collections to celebrate unpredictable WWE moments and new and emerging Superstars.

“WWE is one of the most widely admired sports and entertainment properties worldwide, and it made perfect sense to activate many parts of our Fanatics global platform to create a first-of-its-kind, all-in fan experience,” says Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. “From e-commerce and licensed merchandise to trading cards and more, we’re going to offer up an incredible set of capabilities to help WWE’s passionate fans worldwide celebrate their favorite Superstars, marquee events and the WWE brand overall.”

Fanatics Collectibles, the company’s trading cards and collectibles division, will also become the exclusive provider of licensed WWE physical and digital trading cards, which will once again bear the nostalgic Topps logo. Fanatics acquired the legendary 70-year-old Topps brand earlier this year, which previously held a long-term relationship with WWE. That deal will commence when WWE’s existing trading cards rights expire over the next few years.

Also under the pact, later this year Fanatics’ next generation digital collectibles company, Candy Digital, will become one of WWE’s primary NFT partners. Candy’s team of world-class digital artists, designers, and technologists will curate and build a full range of high-quality trading card NFTs featuring WWE’s biggest moments and stars.

Fanatics strengthens international business with Matthew Primack hire

Fanatics, the leading global digital sports platform, has announced the appointment of Matthew Primack as Senior Vice President, International Business Development.
Primack, who began in his new role this month, will be responsible for building on Fanatics’ strong international growth through the acquisition of new rights and commercial routes to market.
Fanatics’ international presence has grown significantly in recent years, with the company now operating more than 40 offices, manufacturing facilities and fulfilment centres in 11 countries across the world. Primack, who will be based in London, will look to enhance Fanatics’ world class business development function, capitalising on the company’s innovative business model and global capabilities to establish new long-term partnerships.
Primack was previously the long-term Senior Vice President at IMG Licensing, responsible for leading a global team of specialist sales, marketing, product and operations executives. In his leadership role at IMG, Primack designed and delivered licensed consumer product extension businesses for a broad portfolio of high-profile brands in sport, entertainment, gaming, corporate IP, and celebrity personalities. He will report into Fanatics President of Business Affairs, Gary Gertzog.
“Matt’s experience and extensive network within the world of sport and entertainment will be invaluable as we look to accelerate our international growth,” said Gertzog. “Fanatics has an established global business that serves millions of sports fans across the world every year and Matt’s expertise will help us to build new partnerships to enable us to reach more fans, whichever team they support and wherever they are in the world.”
Zohar Ravid, currently General Manager and Head of Corporate Development for Fanatics’ International business, will shift his focus into a new role to lead Global Corporate Development across all of Fanatics’ businesses. From mid-2022 Ravid will be based out of Fanatics’ New York office and alongside his new responsibilities will continue in his work with the company’s global partners.
Fanatics partners with many of the largest sporting organisations in the world including Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, The FA, UEFA, NFL, NBA and Formula One.

WildBrain CPLG kicks off MENA representation for FC Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain FC

WildBrain CPLG, one of the world’s leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agencies, has grown its roster of high-profile football club brands in MENA, signing representation for globally recognised clubs FC Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain FC (PSG), which is managed by Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise. The deals expand the agency’s sports representation to seven globally recognised football club brands.

Additionally, the agency will handle rights for FC Bayern München in Israel, along with an expanded remit for FC Barcelona in that territory, while in India, it will add FC Bayern München and Juventus to its representation slate.

The new representations expand on WildBrain CPLG MENA’s portfolio of many of the world’s most successful football club brands, including Arsenal, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool FC and Manchester City, with extensive partners signed across a number of key categories.

Existing licensees include Sun Ce for back-to-school, Andy Enterprises for apparel at Babyshop, Riva Fashion for kids’ lifestyle apparel, Esal for footballs and Todo Mundo for apparel, with a new deal signed for health and beauty products with My Perfumes for Liverpool FC, FC Barcelona and Juventus.

Neesha Krishna, Managing Director MENA and South Asia, says: “The opportunities presented by these new additions to our football portfolio are very exciting and both clubs have a squad of not only exceptional players but international superstars.

“PSG is currently one of the fastest growing brands in football. FC Bayern München, which has the highest number of club members worldwide, is renowned for its consistent presence at the top of the sport. These brands are natural additions to our top-level sports pillar, which we are looking to grow and expand across new markets through our global presence.”

WildBrain CPLG India is the agency’s newest office and represents entertainment, lifestyle, and sporting properties from the agency’s portfolio, including Yale and Harvard universities, Tetris, Archie Comics, emoji® – The Iconic Brand, Juventus Football Club and OSPREY LONDON, plus Authentic Brands Group’s celebrity brands Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali, fashion brands Aéropostale and Nine West and Prince.

WildBrain CPLG India will also focus on broadening licensing activity to support the ambitious global strategy for WildBrain’s proprietary brands, including Strawberry Shortcake and the Teletubbies.


Formula 1 extends Fanatics partnership as it eyes global expansion into new markets

With the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship now in full throttle, Formula 1 has signed off a multi-year extension of its partnership with the licensed sports merchandise specialist, Fanatics.

The extension has been agreed following what the firm billed ‘an outstanding 2020 performance’, and will see Fanatics retain global e-commerce and manufacturing rights fort he F1 brand. The news arrives amid celebrations in the F1 camp, following a year that has sales on the official online F1 Store grow by more than 40 per cent globally.

Official Formula One merchandise is now delivered to fans in 143 different countries across the world. The strong performance has accelerated in the first six months of 2021, with sales on the official online F1 Store growing by triple digits compared to the same period in 2020.

The sport has also enjoyed an increased presence in the US, with the region becoming the most significant market with the most sales for the F1 site.

Fanatics, which partners with more than 300 of the biggest sports clubs and organisations in the world, has worked with Formula 1 to grow sales by almost 200 per cent since 2017 and has changed the way F1 fans purchase their merchandise online through a tech-infused approach to making and selling fan gear in today’s on-demand, mobile-first culture.

The official F1 online store utilizes Fanatics’ vertical commerce model, which combines on-demand manufacturing with an agile supply chain to produce the timeliest assortments of merchandise for Formula 1 fans. A key driver of sales on the official F1 online store in 2020 was the store’s move to Fanatics’ Cloud Commerce technology, which provides rapid navigation for fans across online and mobile sites.

Fanatics partners with many of the largest sporting organisations in the world including Manchester United, Chelsea FC, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL.

Ben Pincus, director of commercial partnerships at Formula 1, said: “We are pleased to extend our ecommerce and licensing partnership with Fanatics on the back of an exceptional 2020 performance, which follows the remarkable growth we have seen over the last few years.

“Our ambition is to serve all our fans no matter where in the world they are located, and our focus in the years to come will be to access new markets and grow strategic territories like China.”

Zohar Ravid, general manager for Fanatics’ International Business, said: “We have worked in partnership with Formula 1 for a number of years now and grown its global merchandise business significantly in that time. The recent transfer of the site onto our innovative cloud commerce platform has delivered some incredible results in recent months; we are committed to building on that growth in the coming years and I am delighted that we will now be able to continue to deliver results and an incredible service to its global fanbase.”