NEW YORK & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WWE® (NYSE: WWE) and Fanatics today announced a comprehensive, long-term sports and entertainment partnership that will see Fanatics utilize its expanded digital sports platform to create a new, enhanced experience for WWE fans globally across several businesses, including e-commerce and licensed merchandise, as well as physical, digital, and non-fungible token (NFT) trading cards. Through the ground-breaking deal, WWE will benefit from many capabilities across the Fanatics platform to create more opportunities for its global fanbase to showcase their pride and passion for WWE, its marquee events, and star-studded roster.
The businesses that will work together to create an elevated fan experience include Fanatics Commerce, Fanatics Collectibles and Candy Digital.
“Fanatics is the industry leader and Michael Rubin is a visionary,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “We believe this multi-platform partnership will set a new standard for WWE e-commerce, apparel and merchandise, while providing our fans globally with more ways than ever to engage with WWE and our Superstars.”
As part of the agreement, this summer Fanatics will exclusively re-introduce a new, rapid e-commerce and mobile destination, WWE Shop, giving fans around the world access to a leading assortment of WWE merchandise across all categories, including apparel, hard goods, such as title belts, headwear, accessories and more. Fanatics will work closely and collaboratively with the talented teams at WWE who have significantly grown this business in-house for decades, and the company will also add rights to design, manufacture and distribute real-time, on-demand merchandise collections to celebrate unpredictable WWE moments and new and emerging Superstars.
“WWE is one of the most widely admired sports and entertainment properties worldwide, and it made perfect sense to activate many parts of our Fanatics global platform to create a first-of-its-kind, all-in fan experience,” said Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. “From e-commerce and licensed merchandise to trading cards and more, we’re going to offer up an incredible set of capabilities to help WWE’s passionate fans worldwide celebrate their favorite Superstars, marquee events and the WWE brand overall.”
Fanatics Collectibles, the company’s trading cards and collectibles division, will also become the exclusive provider of licensed WWE physical and digital trading cards, which will once again bear the nostalgic Topps logo. Fanatics acquired the legendary 70-year-old Topps brand earlier this year, which previously held a long-term relationship with WWE. That deal will commence when WWE’s existing trading cards rights expire over the next few years.
Also under the pact, later this year Fanatics’ next generation digital collectibles company, Candy Digital, will become one of WWE’s primary NFT partners. Candy’s team of world-class digital artists, designers, and technologists will curate and build a full range of high-quality trading card NFTs featuring WWE’s biggest moments and stars.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The Company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly entertainment on its television programming, premium live events, digital media, and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG programming can be seen in more than 1 billion homes worldwide in 30 languages through world-class distribution partners including NBCUniversal, FOX Sports, BT Sport, Sony India, and Rogers. The award-winning WWE Network includes all premium live events, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library and is currently available in more than 180 countries. In the United States, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, is the exclusive home to WWE Network.
Fanatics, Inc. is the ultimate one-stop sports fan destination that ignites and harnesses the passion of fans and maximizes the presence and reach for preeminent sports partners globally. Leveraging long-standing relationships with more than 900 sports properties, a database of more than 80 million consumers worldwide and a trusted brand name, Fanatics is furthering its innovation across the sports landscape by building the leading global digital sports platform, complete with offerings including licensed merchandise, trading cards and collectibles, digital collectibles and NFTs, and online gambling and iGaming.
For additional information please visit www.fanaticsinc.com.
Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos, and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our business, results of operations and financial condition; entering, maintaining and renewing major distribution and licensing agreements; a rapidly evolving media landscape; WWE Network; our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; the possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties associated with international markets including possible disruptions and reputational risks; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including without limitation, claims alleging traumatic brain injury; large public events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film business; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations; privacy norms and regulations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our indebtedness including our convertible notes; litigation; our potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercises control over our affairs, and his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock; a substantial number of shares are eligible for sale by the McMahons and the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could lower our stock price; and the volatility of our Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date made and are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the Company to update or revise them. Undue reliance should not be placed on these statements. For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of the Company’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.