Online sports apparel and merchandise giant Fanatics has appointed retail and marketing expert Masanori Kawana as managing director of its new Japanese division, which will be based in Tokyo.
Kawana, who recently founded the startup FanForward, will report to Steve Davis, president of Fanatics International, and will lead an initial team of approximately 30 employees, many of whom have links to apparel brand Majestic, which was acquired by Fanatics in May 2017.
Fanatics Japan will be tasked with leading the organisation’s operations throughout Asia in a move which ties in with the company’s expansion strategy to grow the licensed sports merchandise industry across key global markets. The new division will also be expected to build on Fanatics’ existing partnerships with Japanese baseball teams, while also creating a wider range of products to satisfy the growing demand of fans in Asia.
Commenting on his appointment, Kawana said: “The opening of the new Fanatics Japan division will allow us to build on the success that Majestic has experienced throughout the region, and to continue innovating the licensed sports merchandise industry as whole. I am excited to be joining the company during this time, and see a huge opportunity to expand our portfolio of top partners and brands across the entire sports landscape.”
Davis added: “As Fanatics continues to prioritise international expansion as a pillar of the company’s growth, it was incredibly important to add someone like Masanori to the team and utilise his expertise across consumer marketing and brand development to establish a strong presence in the region.
“There is an immense passion for sports across the region, and we are excited to significantly elevate the licensed sports industry and the assortment of high-quality products available for top teams, brands and most importantly the fans.”