Platform for selling sports gear The Yomiuri Giants, the most successful and well-liked baseball team in Japan, will have items produced and distributed by Fanatics as part of an expansion of their recently finalized long-term agreement with Nike.
Along with operating e-commerce and physical retail businesses for the Yomiuri Giants and having exclusive merchandising rights, Fanatics also wants to renovate the retail spaces at the Tokyo Dome in time for the 2023 season. The Yomiuri Giants’ official uniform provider will be Nike. Fans will create player performance products and on-field uniforms, as well as additional Nike-branded fan jerseys and clothing that is sold online and in physical locations. Fans of the Yomiuri Giants can purchase autographed and collectible items from Fanatics.
The Yomiuri Giants are the first sports organization outside of the United States to use the Nike-Fanatics concept for on-field apparel and sporting goods. Fanatics, a major player in sports merchandising, has exclusive licensing deals with the NFL, NHL, MLB, as well as various colleges and universities. Several of those deals, including the NFL and MLB, also overlap with Nike jersey and apparel deals.
A partnership between Fanatics and Nike was struck earlier this year for manufacturing of U.S. college sports apparel by Fanatics, set to begin in 2024.
The three-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company has a private valuation of $27 billion.
In recent years, fans have expanded to encompass collectibles, sports betting, and NFT enterprises. The Michael Rubin-founded, privately held business has also finished a number of acquisitions.
In 2020, it acquired sports merchandise manufacturer WinCraft, and earlier this year it bought trading card company Topps for $500 million. Earlier this year, CNBC reported that Fanatics was in talks to buy sports betting company Tipico, though a deal hasn’t yet been reached.
Due to the expansion of business ventures that can present conflicts of interest, such as sports betting and licensing agreements with specific athletes, Rubin recently sold his shares in the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers.
Fanatics has grown to more than 10,000 employees in 57 countries, serving nearly 100 million sports fans worldwide.