Fanatics, Inc. is the creation of eCommerce visionary and former chairman and CEO of GSI, Michael Rubin. The result of combining Jacksonville-based Fanatics with GSI’s former online sports merchandise business and Dreams, Inc., has made Fanatics the global leader for officially licensed sports merchandise. In 2016, the company took another big step forward by acquiring Kitbag, a UK-based international online retailer, to accelerate both its global expansion plans and aggressive pursuit of growing the licensed sports merchandise business in football (soccer) around the world.

When it was announced in 1995 that the Jaguars would plant roots in Jacksonville, Alan and Mitch Trager got together and opened Fanatics, a brick-and-mortar storefront in a Jacksonville mall. Over the years, Fanatics sold a slew of team gear, but along the way the Tragers uncovered a much bigger opportunity — a market of displaced fans around the world who wanted merchandise to support their favorite teams. Fanatics went digital and made its first online sale in 1997.

At about the same time, Rubin started GSI just outside of Philadelphia. GSI quickly became a leading e-commerce, technology and fulfillment company, powering the online stores of all the major sports leagues. In 2011, GSI bought Fanatics and then Rubin sold the company to eBay, but held on to relationships with the leagues and Fanatics. The following year, Fanatics acquired Dreams, Inc., which included sports e-retailer FansEdge.

In 2014, Fanatics named eCommerce innovator and Silicon Valley veteran Doug Mack as CEO, replacing retiring founder Alan Trager.  Mack has transformed Fanatics from an online retailer into a mobile-first, multi-channel company by putting more of an emphasis on data and technology.

For nearly 20 years, the name Fanatics has been a distinguished brand in the licensed sports merchandise industry. What began as a single Jacksonville mall retail store has grown into the largest retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, providing the ultimate shopping experience to sports fans worldwide.

Although large in size, 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.

Timeline

June 2013

Fanatics raises $170M in a new funding round led by Temasek Holdings and Alibaba Group, raising the company’s valuation to $3.1B.

April 2014

Doug Mack named CEO of Fanatics – the ecommerce innovator and Silicon Valley veteran places added emphasis on data, mobile and technology as the backbone for the company’s next phase of growth.

April 2014

Fanatics opens first Bay Area office to tap into elite Silicon Valley talent pool.

January 2015

Fanatics announces 10-year deal to run all at-track retail for NASCAR.

June 2015

Fanatics signs 17-year deal to operate all aspects of MLB’s e-commerce business.

August 2015

Fanatics raises $300M from Silver Lake Partners.

December 2015

Fanatics opens NBA flagship store on 5th Ave in New York City – a tech infused, multi-channel shopping experience that provides fans with the ultimate selection of basketball merchandise.

February 2016

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

March 2016

Fanatics extends NFL e-commerce deal and adds fan merchandise rights to be able to create products around ‘micro moments.’

July 2016

Fanatics opens new 50,000 sq ft West Coast HQ in San Mateo, bringing together more than 300 employees spread across the Bay Area under one roof in the heart of Silicon Valley.

October 2016

Fanatics signs long-term manufacturing deal with NHL that covers a broad range of exclusive NHL apparel and headwear rights, including official replica jerseys and hot market merchandise for the Stanley Cup Playoffs – all starting with the 2017-18 season.

November 2016

Fanatics and Uber team up to deliver Cubs World Series championship merchandise throughout Chicago immediately following the team’s historic victory that broke the 108-year drought – average delivery time was under 8 minutes. This led to many more real-time delivery partnerships between Fanatics and Uber.

December 2016

MLB announces innovative 10-year merchandise deal that splits the rights between Fanatics and Under Armour which let’s both companies do what they do best – Under Armour to provide cutting-edge on-field apparel for players and marketing for the league, while Fanatics provides fans with the most responsive and significant merchandise assortment ever available.

January 2017

Fanatics signs 10-plus year apparel deal with the NBA that includes exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute the league’s official replica jersey starting with the 2017-18 season.

May 2017

Fanatics completes acquisition of VF Corporation’s Licensed Sports Group, which includes sports brand Majestic – combines Fanatics’ innovative, design-centric and tech-infused approach to fan gear with Majestic’s decades-long reputation of product quality and proven retail distribution to create a full-service design, manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler of licensed sports merchandise.

September 2017

Fanatics closes $1B funding round lead by SoftBank’s Vison Fund, the largest tech in history that is looking to invest globally in transformative technology companies and disruptive entrepreneurs.  The funding round also included significant investments from the NFL, MLB and NFLPA.

October 2017

Fanatics acquires Fermata Partners to create robust offering of brand and retail services to elevate and transform the college licensed sports business.

November 2017

Fanatics signs long-term fan gear and retail deal with MLS to expand their e-commerce relationship and manage the league’s licensed sports merchandise business.  MLS also announced an equity investment into Fanatics.

November 2017

Fanatics extends NHL licensing rights to 2034, adding broader set of rights that includes manufacturing and distributing the league’s premier ‘Center Ice’ collection and all name & number apparel.  The new agreement also makes Fanatics the exclusive distributor of fan gear and headwear to the sporting goods retail channel.