Fanatics, Inc. is the creation of e-commerce visionary and former chairman and CEO of GSI Commerce, Michael Rubin. The business that Fanatics is today started within GSI with Rubin’s first sports league e-commerce deal with NASCAR in 2002. In 2011, he bought a Florida-based sports e-commerce business called Fanatics that included two brick-and-mortar stores in Jacksonville, Fla., and rolled it into GSI. That same year, Rubin sold GSI to eBay for $2.4 billion, bought back the sports ecommerce business, that by then included online stores for all the North American sports leagues along with hundreds of teams and colleges, and kept the name Fanatics for the new company moving forward.
In 2012, Fanatics added FansEdge, a sports memorabilia division and more team e-commerce partners through its acquisition of Dreams, Inc. Since then, the company has continued to add more partnerships and multi-channel capabilities across the globe as well as introduced a vertical manufacturing model that’s disrupting the industry through an innovative, tech-infused approach to making and selling fan gear in today’s on-demand culture.
One of the first major moves came when Fanatics named Silicon Valley veteran Doug Mack as CEO in 2014, during which time the company also opened its first Bay Area office to tap into the elite technology talent pool in that area. Mack immediately began transforming Fanatics from a domestic e-commerce expert into a new breed of retailer – a mobile-first, vertically based multi-channel company – by putting more of an emphasis on manufacturing, omnichannel retail, data and technology.
Fanatics went global in 2016, acquiring UK-based international online retailer Kitbag to begin its foray into the lucrative global football (soccer) landscape, while also offering easy access to a wide assortment of North American-based sports apparel to fans worldwide.
To keep up with the company’s tremendous growth, in May 2017 Fanatics acquired leading sports apparel company Majestic, greatly expanding manufacturing, distribution and wholesale capabilities worldwide. Later that year Fanatics closed a $1 billion funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the largest tech fund in history, which identified Fanatics as one of the technology-rich companies helping to shape the future of commerce worldwide.
What began as a single e-commerce deal in 2002 has grown into the global leader of officially licensed sports merchandise, providing the ultimate shopping experience to sports fans worldwide whether buying fan gear online, on a phone, in stores, in stadiums or on-site at the many of the world’s biggest sporting events.
Although large in size and spread out across the world, Fanatics has never forgotten its humble roots and remains focused on helping fuel the passion that every fan has for the teams, schools and players they love.