SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fanatics, the global leader for officially licensed sports merchandise, today announced the formation of Fanatics College, a new division of the company that will focus exclusively on elevating the comprehensive offerings it now provides for collegiate partners across the country, which include e-commerce, omnichannel arena and stadium retail operations and brand management services. With a seasoned team of college merchandise and branding experts, Fanatics College will provide partners with a better, more sophisticated way to connect directly with their fan bases and alumni through a broader, more-timely merchandise assortment that fulfills the growing, real-time demand of consumers.
Also today, Fanatics announced it has acquired the collegiate licensing services practice of Atlanta-based Fermata Partners from CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA). The Fanatics College division will be comprised of the industry’s foremost specialists in collegiate consumer products marketing. Two of the founding members of Fermata, Derek Eiler and Chris Prindiville, will be joining Fanatics College. They will be joined by an existing team that has decades of experience working in the college space, including Brian Swallow who was instrumental in creating the first large-scale e-commerce platform for universities at Fanatics starting in the early 2000s.
The Fermata team that oversees the college licensing business will remain in Atlanta and operate as a separate division integrated into the Fanatics business unit that manages other major sports brand licensing programs.
“The acquisition of Fermata’s collegiate licensing business strategically aligns with our focus towards delivering leading-edge technology, robust data, omnichannel retail services and deepened licensing capabilities to university partners,” said Fanatics Chief Commercial Officer Cole Gahagan. “The agile creation and distribution of high quality collegiate merchandise, coupled with our standalone ability to help universities manage their brands and connect more directly with their fans, presents our partners with the best possible set of solutions to help them grow their business.”
Fermata Partners was founded by Derek Eiler, Chris Prindiville, Kit Walsh, and Scott Bouyack in 2012, and was acquired by CAA Sports in 2015. Walsh, Bouyack, and their team at CAA Sports will continue to serve as the exclusive trademark licensing representatives for a variety of sports brands, including the PGA TOUR, Kentucky Derby, and a dozen English Premier League football clubs, including Arsenal F.C., Manchester City F.C., Liverpool F.C., and Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Fanatics has created a world-class global retail operation over the past several years, combining the company’s vast technology-based, mobile, data and analytics platform with an agile supply chain and real-time vertical manufacturing capabilities to service fans in today’s on-demand world. Fanatics College will continue to provide its partners with the widest assortment of team merchandise for fans regardless of where or how they want to shop – online, on their phone, at the stadium or at some of the most popular collegiate events.
As the global leader in licensed sports merchandise, Fanatics is changing the way fans purchase their favorite team apparel and jerseys through an innovative, tech-infused approach to making and selling fan gear in today’s on-demand culture. Powering multi-channel commerce for the world’s biggest sports brands, Fanatics offers the largest collection of timeless and timely merchandise whether shopping online, on your phone, in stores, in stadiums or on-site at the world’s biggest sporting events.
The company powers the Fanatics, FansEdge, Kitbag and Majestic brands, while also offering the largest selection of sports collectibles and memorabilia through Fanatics Authentic. A multi-faceted, mobile-first company, Fanatics operates more than 300 online and offline stores, including the e-commerce business for all major professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL MLS, NASCAR, PGA), major media brands (NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports) and more than 200 collegiate and professional team properties, which include top teams and several global soccer clubs.
In addition to e-commerce, the company’s capabilities include multichannel-integrated event and team retail across all leagues and major events around the world, such as the Kentucky Derby, Ryder Cup, NFL games in London and NHL’s Winter Classic; international capabilities through its Fanatics International division that provides a global sports retail platform; and an in-house merchandise division that is a licensed partner of all the major sports leagues and helps fans express passion through a broad range of styles, designs and jerseys created under both the Fanatics and Majestic brands. Fanatics’ vertical manufacturing engine is built for the on-demand economy and brings much-needed agility to the industry, better servicing today’s passionate sports fans and their growing real-time expectations with more unique and innovative products readily available across retail channels.