Fanatics, Inc. is the creation of e-commerce visionary and former chairman and CEO of GSI Commerce, Michael Rubin. Fanatics started within GSI with Rubin’s e-commerce deal with NASCAR in 2002. In 2011, Rubin 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 and bought back the sports e-commerce business. By then the brand included online stores for all the North American sports leagues and hundreds of teams and colleges. Rubin kept the name Fanatics for the new company.
In 2012, Fanatics added FansEdge, a sports memorabilia division and more team e-commerce partners through its acquisition of Dreams, Inc. Silicon Valley veteran Doug Mack was hired as CEO in 2014. Mack immediately began transforming Fanatics from a domestic e-commerce company into a new breed of retailer – part tech company, part manufacturer, part logistics company, part wholesaler and part e-commerce expert – by putting more of an emphasis on manufacturing, omnichannel retail, data and technology.
Fanatics went global in 2016, acquiring UK-based online retailer Kitbag to begin its foray into the global football (soccer) landscape, while also offering easy access to a wide assortment of North American-based sports apparel to fans worldwide. Since then, Fanatics has expanded its international vertical-commerce (V-Commerce) model globally, opening offices, fulfillment centers and manufacturing hubs in Canada, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Spain.
To keep up with the company’s tremendous growth and accelerate its scale, in May 2017 Fanatics acquired sports apparel company, Majestic, greatly expanding manufacturing, distribution and wholesale capabilities worldwide. Later in 2017, Fanatics closed a $1 billion funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the largest tech fund in history. The funding round also included significant investments from the NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS and NFLPA.
What began as a single e-commerce deal in 2002 has grown into a tech-fueled, omnichannel retailer built for today’s mobile-first culture. Fanatics provides the ultimate shopping experience to sports fans worldwide whether buying gear online, on a phone, in stores, in stadiums or on-site at many of the world’s biggest sporting events.