Macy’s has joined a number of other major retailers — including Walmart, Kohl’s and JCPenney— in the Fanatics club after announcing a new partnership with the online sports merchandise retailer to increase its own online assortment of fan apparel 20X, according to multiple sources.
Fanatics Founder and CEO Michael Rubin told the New York Post that the partnership with Macy’s will help Fanatics reach more women, a key target for the ecommerce company as sales of women’s sports merchandise have seen double-digit growth in the last few years.
“It’s been a very important strategy for us to power these retailers’ ecommerce business,” Jack Boyle, Global Co-president of Fanatics told the Post. “For us to reach a new set of customers, who are already coming to Macy’s and may not be coming to Fanatics, is a way for us to expand the market.”
The partnership will be operated under a “progressive connected inventory model” in which Macy’s will run the front-end ecommerce business and Fanatics will fulfill and ship the orders.
The expanded assortment of fan apparel available through Macy’s digital channels will include officially licensed men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, jerseys, hats, collectibles, tailgating and novelty products from all the U.S. major sports leagues as well as hundreds of professional and college teams. It also will include a selection from the Fanatics Better Brands portfolio, which features more upscale fan merchandise from labels such as Tommy Bahama, Vineyard Vines and Wear by Erin Andrews.
In addition to its own ecommerce site and partnerships with the aforementioned retailers, Fanatics also sells on Amazon and operates around 50 brick-and-mortar stores in sports venues across the U.S., as well as the flagship stores for the NBA and NHL in New York City.
Fanatics is valued at $18 billion after its latest round of funding and is preparing for an IPO. Not surprising, since the company has slowly but surely been upending the sports merchandise industry, most recently when it snagged the trading cards rights for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. The new deals left the leagues’ long-time trading card partners, namely Topps and Panini, in the lurch, effectively killing Topps’ plans to go public via a SPAC. There are also rumors that Fanatics plans to enter the sports gambling sector.
CEO Rubin also is the Executive Chairman of the Rue Gilt Groupe and a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team.