- Fanatics Live is available on iOS in North America
- Content will be creator and brand led
Fanatics has launched an interactive live shopping application, promising a community-driven platform for collectibles and merchandise.
The Fanatics Live app serves up creator and partner-focused programming based on user’s interests, complete with interactive widgets and live chat functionality.
The company says it is working with a “broad range” of individuals, brands and sports leagues on content. This includes Major League Baseball (MLB) and SLAM magazine, as well as its own autograph and memorabilia divisions and the Topps trading card business it acquired for US$500 million last year.
Fanatics hopes athlete appearances, exclusive merchandise and limited edition ‘drops’ will attract fan interest.
“With Fanatics Live, we see a tremendous opportunity to marry content, community, and commerce, and are incredibly excited to officially launch our product,” said Nick Bell, Fanatics Live chief executive.
“By bringing together like-minded fans and collectors on our platform, coupled with an extensive network of partners across sports, entertainment and culture, Fanatics Live aims to build a trusted environment for fans with highly entertaining, quality programming where commerce is ultimately its by-product.”
Fanatics Live is currently available on iOS in North America, with more regions and Android support in the works.
Fanatics is intent on becoming more than just a sports ecommerce service. It is one of several firms looking to position itself a multi-faceted digital sports platform, offering a variety of interconnected services that engage fans and drive revenues.
Over the past 18 months, it has established an array of new divisions and made a series of transactions to expand beyond merchandising.
The Topps takeover helped Fanatics expand into collectibles and fortify its Web 3.0 strategy following the divesture of its stake in Candy Digital, while it is moving further into betting with the proposed acquisition of PointsBet in the US. It also recently launched a live events company and, in a major brand-building exercise, inked a deal to become the official on-ice uniform supplier of the National Hockey League (NHL) for ten years.
Launching an online shopping service, albeit a digitally-native app-focused experience, is a decidedly analogue move in this context. But Fanatics is banking on live content and a sense of community helping to engage users for longer periods of time, with interactive features helping to deepen engagement.
It is also another step forward in the company’s bid to become a home for the burgeoning digital and physical collectibles space.
Fanatics was last valued at US$31 billion after a US$700 million financing round back in December. Its new events business will be the latest string to the company’s bow as it moves towards a long-awaited initial public offering (IPO).