They’ve already gobbled up the trading card space. Now, Fanatics is moving into events, with plans centered around collectibles.
The company says it is forming a partnership with IMG for the new venture but will maintain majority ownership in the events business.
“Fanatics Events will focus on building the largest and most exciting network of sports and collector fan events around the world, where fans will have the chance to come together to celebrate all aspects of fandom,” the company said Thursday morning.
Set to launch its first gatherings in 2024, Fanatics Events will create and operate fan festivals that will include appearances by athletes. They’ll likely have a card show element, but according to Yahoo Sports, Fanatics Events “plans to rethink them with more modern, fan-centric features.”
Lance Fensterman, the former president of ReedPop, a pop culture events business, has been hired to be CEO of Fanatics Events with more additions in the works as the company looks to build out its business. He told the Sports Business Journal that “content, community and commerce” will be the three main elements of events that will be conducted under the Fanatics umbrella.
“These events will be critical to Fanatics’ mission of growing the trading card and collectible hobby, welcoming new collectors, bringing current collectors together, and celebrating the fandoms of sports & entertainment in a format that is inviting and exciting for all fans,” the company stated.
SBJ reported that the company plans to conduct programming centered around collectibles “including fan and collector education, access to industry experts, business-to-business content to help hobby shops and pro collectors grow their businesses, and trading floors where collectors can buy, sell and trade cards and collectibles.”
Alongside those more hard core collector oriented concepts will likely be entertainment, apparel and perhaps even sports betting elements in states where it’s allowed.
Fanatics executives have been in attendance at multiple sports card shows since it bought Topps early last year, observing and gathering information. They’ll lean heavily on IMG, which has produced the MINT Collective in Las Vegas the last two years and has a long track record of event production.
“We want to do whatever and bring whoever will delight collectors and fans,” Fensterman told SBJ of the company’s event plans.