Sports merch giant Fanatics inks a “Stranger Things” deal with Netflix as it looks to Hollywood for growth

Thursday, July 28, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |

Eleven trading card… superpowers not included. Sports merch staple Fanatics nabbed a deal with Netflix to expand beyond athletics into pop culture. Now, Fanatics can sell everything from “Stranger Things” Hellfire t-shirts to demodog trading cards. Beyond Hawkins, Fanatics inked a merch deal with Legendary Entertainment for its “Dune” movie franchise. It’s a shift for the sports-centric brand:

  • The roster: Fanatics pays 300+ sports teams and brands for the right to sell their merch as an official partner. In January, the merch master bought trading card icon Topps for a reported $500M to sell MLB, NBA, and NFL player cards.
  • The $$: Fanatics' collectibles biz alone (think: signed Brady jerseys) is expected to top $1B in revenue this year, while its e-comm biz is projected to hit $4.5B in sales.

From trading cards to NFTs… Fanatics’ fanbase is expanding. In March, Fanatics launched zerocool, a premium trading card company that collabs with media and pop culture brands. Now, it’s using Netflix's 221M-strong subscriber base to diversify its portfolio. Netflix has its own low-key merch store, but now it’ll get exposure to Fanatic’s 80M customers. Demand is hot: Ebay sold 142% more trading cards in 2020 than in 2019.


Fanatics is going wide to get far... It wants to be everyone's favorite merch company — and not just for sports lovers. That’s why Fanatics is planning more licensing deals with production studios, musicians, and even fashion brands. It’s not the only company going wide: yesterday, luxury reseller The RealReal expanded its fashion marketplace to include collectibles like trading cards and action figures. Going wide could be key to Fanatics' goal of becoming a $100B company over the next decade.