Fanatics’ Rubin outlines core business focus

About a year ago, when Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin was deciding whether to take his company public, he realized that the most valuable part of his business wasn’t the commerce business that he had spent a decade building up. “It was that we really built the most valuable database in sports. We had more than 80 million fans that just came from the commerce business that we know a ton about,” Rubin said during an appearance at the CAA World Congress of Sports. “We’re really, at our core, a direct-to-consumer company.”

That got Rubin looking to get Fanatics into other businesses where he could rely on the database as well as his league relationships. “Today, our focus is on the four businesses that we’ve announced that we’re in,” he said. “Commerce, merchandise, trading cards, NFTs, online sports betting, iGaming, are all massive opportunities. … We believe media does fit long-term. We believe ticketing does fit long-term. The reason we picked the four businesses to go in first that we’ve gone into is because we think they’re the businesses that we can make the most progress in, and we’ve certainly proven that in commerce and trading cards to start with.”

When SBJ’s Abe Madkour described Fanatics’ ambitions as becoming “the Amazon of sports,” Rubin retorted, “I think about Fanatics as the Fanatics of sports, not the Amazon of sports. … We’re building an addictive product, and (we) give them everything they want, or the key things they want, digitally. That’s a great opportunity.”


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