Notre Dame and Fanatics Announce Innovative Merchandising and Analytics Partnership

New 10-year alliance with industry leading partners will create improved business efficiencies and unlock new ways to empower and interact with University constituents worldwide.

The University of Notre Dame and Fanatics are launching a new, comprehensive partnership to innovate and improve the University’s ability to engage its constituents and enhance the distribution of Notre Dame licensed merchandise in an increasingly online retail environment.

The University has entered into an exclusive 10-year licensing partnership with Fanatics, the global leader for licensed sports merchandise, which will see the company become the University’s primary apparel, headwear, and hard goods partner starting in January, 2021. Fanatics had previously operated the Notre Dame athletics’ online team store, and through this agreement will expand the partnership to include manufacturing, distribution and licensing of Notre Dame consumer products across all off-campus and online distribution channels. Fanatics’ innovative vertical commerce model – which combines cutting-edge technology and on-demand manufacturing – will allow the University to provide alumni and fans worldwide with the most robust assortments of real-time merchandise ever available. The new partnership will give the University the ability to use data insights and analytics to engage fans with timely information and relevant product offers and will enhance the overall licensed merchandise category to deliver a sustainable revenue stream and support the University’s mission.

Alongside this new framework, the Notre Dame athletics’ apparel partnership with Under Armour will remain unchanged, as will the University’s long-standing relationship with Follett Higher Education Group to operate the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and other campus retail operations.

A central component of the new partnership will include the use of Salesforce, the global leader in customer relationship management (CRM), by both the University and Fanatics. Salesforce is the University’s primary digital constituent outreach platform, and Fanatics uses Salesforce to deliver real-time, AI-powered shopping experiences. Through its partnership with Fanatics, Notre Dame will be able to further leverage Salesforce to elevate its analytics and digital marketing expertise, enhancing its alumni and fan engagement. By improving the University’s ability to listen to its constituents and get a deeper understanding of their individual preferences, the University will be able to better personalize experiences and offerings. As a result, the University will be able to more thoughtfully engage its constituents across a wide range of activities, including athletics, events, news, etc.

“This partnership provides Notre Dame the opportunity to eliminate volatility in the merchandising marketplace, and partner with two world class organizations in growing our engagement with alumni, parents, and fans. We are excited to deepen enthusiasm and passion for the University, extend offerings to fans worldwide, and ultimately drive more value to all members of the Notre Dame Family,” said Micki Kidder, Vice President for University Enterprises and Events at Notre Dame.

“This visionary alliance with Notre Dame is the new benchmark for the college industry. By aligning Fanatics’ collective strengths in e-commerce, wholesale and on-demand manufacturing, along with our foremost capabilities across data and analytics, we are propelling Notre Dame into the next decade,” said Derek Eiler, Executive Vice President of Fanatics. He added, “Building this model with Notre Dame on our shared platform with Salesforce brings significant benefits to the University in the speed and scale of enhancing its digital engagement with its alumni and fans everywhere.”

“Salesforce is proud to be a trusted partner to Notre Dame and Fanatics as they embark on this innovative new partnership,” said Adam Blitzer, CEO, Salesforce Marketing Cloud. “The Salesforce Customer 360 Platform enables companies to use artificial intelligence to more precisely segment the audiences they want to engage, orchestrate personalized experiences across a growing number of channels, and get deeper insights to better understand what’s actually resonating with their constituents and take action. With Salesforce, Notre Dame and Fanatics will completely transform engagement for Notre Dame alumni and fans around the world.”