Fanatics’ Upstart Sports-Hambling Division Hiring Director of Marketing

Sporting goods retailer Fanatics Inc. hired Jason White as chief marketing officer of Fanatics Betting and Gaming, its nascent online sports gambling division.

Fanatics, which is controlled by e-commerce entrepreneur Michael Rubin, has established itself as a seller of sports memorabilia, digital collectibles and trading cards in recent years. The company, which has agreements with major sports teams and leagues to design, manufacture and sell licensed gear and apparel, believes it can use its user database of more than 90 million sports fans to gain an edge in the fast-growing online sports gambling market, Mr. White said.

Fanatics Betting and Gaming is not yet operational. Mr. White joins Fanatics after serving as CMO of MTV Entertainment, a division of Paramount Global,

for about a year. He previously led marketing for cannabis distributor Curaleaf Holdings Inc. and Apple Inc.

owned audio company Beats Electronics LLC.

The sports betting industry is dominated by companies including DraftKings Inc.

and Flutter Entertainment PLC’s FanDuel, which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing but recently cut costs under pressure to achieve profitability.

Fanatics Betting and Gaming CMO Jason White previously led marketing for MTV, Curaleaf and Beats.


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Fanatics Inc.

Fanatics see an opportunity in an industry struggling with high customer acquisition costs and low customer loyalty, Mr. White said. Fanatics Commerce and Fanatics Collectibles, the company’s other two business units, will use data on millions of existing customers, such as their favorite teams and players, to cross-sell its betting service, he said.

The new CMO reports to Fanatics Betting and Gaming CEO Matt King, who joined the company last year as it began exploring the betting market. Mr. King previously served as CEO of FanDuel.

Mr. White said he and other Fanatics marketing leaders plan to collaborate with the former Airbnb Inc.

Fanatics CMO and board member Jonathan Mildenhall will develop a cohesive brand strategy across the company’s divisions in the coming months.

“We’re going to want to build the brand and the business at the same time,” Mr. White said, adding that he has begun recruiting marketing executives for his own team.

Mr. White said he was attracted by the company’s potential for growth as well as its CEO’s history in the social justice movement. Mr. Rubin co-founded the Reform Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, with fellow entrepreneurs Daniel Loeb and Clara Wu Tsai, as well as the rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill and the owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft.

Fanatics filed for a trademark for its newest division earlier this year and recently received approval to do business in Maryland, though its application for New York was denied.

When asked about the launch date, a Fanatics spokesman referred to Mr. Rubin’s recent comment on a podcast that the company would accept bets on the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers by the end of the year. Mr. Rubin also recently announced that he has sold his stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment LLC, the parent company of the National Hockey League’s 76ers and New Jersey Devils. He cited conflicts of interest arising from Fanatics’ expansion.

The Fanatics upended the trading card industry last year by signing exclusive deals with Major League Baseball and the NBA, as well as the unions representing players in MLB, the NBA and the National Football League, then acquired Topps Co.’s merchandising business this year. -$500 million card business.

Fanatics was valued at $27 billion earlier this year after raising $1.5 billion from Fidelity Management & Research Co., among others.

Write to Patrick Coffee at [email protected]

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It appeared in the September 14, 2022 print edition as “Hazard Division Of Fanatics Hires Former MTV CMO”.

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