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Rubin’s Sports Business March Brings Fanatics Into Live Events

  • Rubin-led sports merchandising giant makes yet another move into a new business
  • Company recruits executive from producer of New York Comic Con
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Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin’s historic march through the sports business is taking another big step — this time into the lucrative world of live events.

On Thursday, Fanatics announced an equity deal with Endeavor-owned IMG to create Fanatics Events, a new live-events business. Majority-owned by Fanatics, the venture will begin with a focus on sports collectibles before broadening through “acquisitions, joint ventures, and new event launches.”

Lance Fensterman was newly hired as CEO of Fanatics Events after a prior role leading pop culture events business ReedPop, which produces major events such as the New York Comic Con. Fensterman is excited to provide “an opportunity to celebrate all aspects of fandom.”

After experiencing a battering during the pandemic, the live events business has rebounded sharply over the past year, with major events like the NFL’s Super Bowl Experience in 2023 drawing some of their largest crowds in years and leagues such as the NBA aggressively creating new events.

The effort is merely the latest expansion for Fanatics as it continues to grow exponentially beyond its origins in sports merchandising trading cards, international sales, collectibles auctions, content, and sports betting — all while building its company valuation to a stratospheric $31 billion.

Most recently, Fanatics fended off a rival bid from DraftKings to complete its $225 million acquisition of the U.S. assets of PointsBet, a move accelerating the company’s sportsbook operations.

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