In the last year, sports apparel giant Fanatics has rapidly expanded its business to include trading cards, NFTs, and other digital collectibles. This included launching NFT company Candy Digital, acquiring trading card company Topps, and securing trading-card rights for Major League Baseball, the NFL Players Association, and the NBA. In March, the company debuted a new brand devoted to entertainment and culture, called Zerocool, starting with a limited-edition set of VeeFriends cards, and used a blind Dutch-auction model to determine the ultimate price.
Now, given the new division’s increasing value and size within the company, Fanatics has decided to unify its various collectible brands under one chief executive, naming Mike Mahan—an entrepreneur and former CEO of Dick Clark Productions—as CEO of Fanatics Collectibles.
“Our collectibles business has seen tremendous growth since launching last year, and we couldn’t be more confident in bringing Mike on board to shape the bright future of this division and its alignment within our larger Fanatics digital sports platform,” said Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. “As a collector and passionate sports fan, Mike’s vision for both the trading cards hobby and emerging digital collectibles properties, driven by exceptional products, will further position Fanatics as a leader in these categories, creating incredible opportunities for fans, collectors, hobby shops, retailers, and our partners.”
The move puts Collectibles alongside Fanatics Commerce (e-commerce and apparel)—headed up by CEO Doug Mack; and Fanatics Betting and Gaming, led by CEO Matt King—as the third pillar of the overall business. The company says that Collectibles has already recorded revenues of over $1 billion and is approaching $300 million in profits, all prior to new rights kicking in, including those of the NBA, NFL, WWE, and a large group of college sports.
Mahan is charged with unlocking strategic marketing to grow the category, since, according to Fanatics, less than 1% of revenues are used toward marketing across the overall collectibles industry.