Unicorns 43/229 – Fanatics (sports retailer)

Unicorns 43/229 – Fanatics (sports retailer)


Founder/s: Mitch Trager, Alan Trager
Key people: Doug Mack (Chief Executive Officer), Jack Boyle (President, Merchandising), Lauren Cooks Levitan (Chief Financial Officer), Matt Madrigal (Chief Technology and Product Officer), Ross Tannenbaum (President, Fanatics Authentic) and Chris Orton (CMO / CRO)
Number of employees: 1k – 5k

Fanatics is an online retailer of licensed sports apparel and merchandise, formed in 1995 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Fanatics offers product via its Fanatics and FansEdge brands, as well as sports collectibles and memorabilia through Fanatics Authentic and SportsMemorabilia.com. Fanatics, Inc (NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports) and over 150 collegiate and professional (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA, UFC), major media brands Team properties

Fanatics has relationships with over 1080 vendors, including companies such as Nike, Reebok, adidas, ’47 Brand, Majestic, New Era, Mitchell & Ness, Under Armor, Rock’ Em Apparel and over 1000 others. Fanatics, Inc. also owns Fanatics Apparel, which products are licensed sports sports exclusively for the Fanatics umbrella of sites. Additional offices are located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Deerfield, Illinois; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania; Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, California, and soon San Mateo, CA.


Formed in 1995, Fanatics, Inc. was originally started when brothers Alan and Mitch Trager opened Football Fanatics, a brick-and-mortar storefront in The Orange Park Mall focusing on Jacksonville Jaguars, and local collegiate team merchandise. By 1997 store # 2 had Opened in The Avenues Mall. Brent Trager focused on achievement an online presence for the retail company, hiring its first dedicated e-commerce focused employee, Brian Swallow, in early 2000.

(The) the following acquisition (2006) was Richard Perel’s Marketsville, Inc sports web sites which includ ed top college e-commerce property CollegeFootballStore.com. At the time Marketsville, Inc 25% of Fanatics online sales as an affiliate. Richard Perel stayed on board as a marketing executive at Fanatics until 2014, helping the company secure funding at a $ 3.1 billion valuation in 2013.

Subsequent acquisitions were Rupp Shirts based out of Tallahassee, Florida and Demand Made.

In 2011, Fanatics, Inc. was purchased by GSI Commerce, led by chairman Michael G. Rubin, for $ 171 million in cash and $ 106 Million of GSI Common stock.

In 2012, Rubin purchased Fanatics outright from eBay, along with a 70% stake in Rue La La and ShopRunner, and formed the umbrella company Kynetic as a parent company. Later that year, Fanatics acquired Florida-based rival Dreams, Inc. for $ 158 Million in cash and $ 25 million in debt.

Michael Rubin is now worth $ 2.7 Billion and owns 72% of Fanatics, after the last round of venture capital funding. As of June 2014, Fanatics was valued at $ 3.1 billion.

As of April 2014, Doug Mack is the CEO of Fanatics, Inc., which currently has about 1,800 employees.

Fanatics is ranked #42 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 in 2014. In 2015, the NBA announced a multi-year partnership with Fanatics to operate its 25,000 sq ft flagship store in NYC. Since Fanatics also powers the online NBAStore.com, customers to the NYC Store are able to browse and purchase from the entire online inventory through in-store handheld devices. In March 2016, the NFL and Fanatics agreed to a new long-term extension to operate NFLShop.com. The NFLPA also granted Fanatics the rights for player merchandise. Fanatics will replace Nike as the largest maker and seller of player merchandise starting in March 2017. In January 2015, Fanatics began selling a collection of casual womenswear designed by actress Ricki Noel Lander called Let Loose By RNL.

Fan Compon ranks “A” with the Better Business Bureau, where the company has been an accredited business since 3/1/2006.