Axios Pro Exclusive Content

NFL led Fanatics' recent $1.5 billion funding round

Data: Axios reporting; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Axios reporting; Chart: Axios Visuals

Fanatics’ $1.5 billion funding round in March was led by the NFL, which chipped in $320 million, the company confirms to Axios.

Why it matters: Fanatics has become a giant in the sports memorabilia space, and now leagues want in on its growth.

  • It’s valued at $27 billion, more than four times what it was 18 months ago.

Details: More than half of this funding round came from strategic partners like sports leagues, players associations and team owners.

  • Other investors included MLB and its owners, MLB Players Association, NFL Players Association, the NHL, Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai's Blue Pool Capital and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which owns soccer club Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Leagues, players associations and team owners now own approximately 10% of the business.

The big picture: Fanatics is going full speed ahead on breaking away from its core merchandise business.

  • In the last year, Fanatics has launched an NFT business called Candy Digital and bought the trading cards and collectibles business of Topps for about $500 million as well as retailer Mitchell & Ness in a deal that valued it at $25 million.
  • It's trying to push into gambling with the launch of an online sportsbook, which is being led by former FanDuel CEO Matt King.
  • Fanatics expects to do well over $5 billion in revenue in 2022.

What's next: "While an IPO is clearly an available option to us, there is no update on any timeline," a company spokesperson told Axios. "Our focus remains on expanding the business and building the leading digital sports platform over the next decade and beyond."

Editor's note: This item has been corrected to reflect Fanatics had one (not two) funding round of $1.5 billion at a valuation of $27 billion in March. It was also corrected to show the NFL led the financing with $320 million (not $230 million).

Go deeper