Fanatics has rapidly risen to prominence as an international brand for official sporting merchandise. Starting in Florida in 2011 in its current form, Fanatics acquired incredible licensing deals with the major league sports of North America to become the go-to place for merchandise. Now, Fanatics has expanded much further.
Not only does the company help individual teams establish their own merchandising efforts, like with getting French club Paris Saint-Germain a new store in Toronto, but Fanatics now reaches far beyond the likes of the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, and MLS. Now, Fanatics is muscling into the eSports space.
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Becoming A Rising Sport’s Official Merchandise Store
In the world of eSports, merchandise has long been a source of revenue. Even back to the earliest times of professional eSports, team stores with branded shirts, jackets, hats, headsets, and even gaming chairs were commonplace. Ever seeking to grow and catch on before it got too big, Fanatics made its first eSports move in 2018.
In December of that year, Activision Blizzard signed a licensing deal with the online retailer. This laid the foundations for Fanatics’ exploration of this new region of sports. Already, Fanatics had the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, and NASCAR on their virtual shelves, so adding eSports competitions introduced the brand to a new audience and also helped to legitimize the perception of eSports among traditional sports fans. It increased exposure.
At this time, the market size value of eSports was $694 million, while Fanatics was valued at $4.5 billion. Fast-forward five years, and Fanatics is floating around a $31 billion valuation while the eSports market is set to exceed revenues of $3.75 billion. Of course, Fanatics’ eSports deals haven’t been the main contributors to these increases, but they’ve certainly aided both sides of the deal as a rising force.
Now, just looking at the Fanatics merchandise site, it’s clear that the eSports gamble has paid off. For Activision Blizzard, Fanatics covers Hearthstone, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft. They’ve also reached out to NBA2K League – a more natural competitive gaming league to integrate – and the Call of Duty League.
Further Expansion For Fanatics
After months of work and years of deliberation, Fanatics decided to enhance its presence in the sports industry by diving into the relatively nascent space of regulated online gambling in the US. In the summer of 2023, as BonusFinder states in a review, they snapped up PointsBet, rebranded it, and opened a new sportsbook that also offers eSports betting.
To finish 2023, Fanatics further expanded into another realm of gaming, iGaming. In November 2023, they branched out into West Virginia with the new online casino. In the months following, expansions into the likes of Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were all planned, as was providing a separate app for the table and slot games platform. Now, Fanatics looks to have a place in competitive professional gaming as well as casual online casino gaming.
Fanatics has already become the go-to name for official merchandise in major league sports and will be hoping to grow even further with its new iGaming platform. As eSports and Fanatics continue to grow, the two seem destined to become even more intertwined.
Joel is a whiz with computers. When he was just a youngster, he hacked into the school's computer system and changed all of the grades. He got away with it too - until he was caught by the vice-principal! Joel loves being involved in charities. He volunteers his time at the local soup kitchen and helps out at animal shelters whenever he can. He's a kind-hearted soul who just wants to make the world a better place.