In March of 2022, WWE announced a partnership with merchandising and collectibles powerhouse Fanatics. That deal saw Fanatics take over and remodel the WWE Shop online store among other things.
Word is the deal was deemed a success by both parties, and another announcement today (April 18) would seem to prove that. Fanatics will now be responsible for merch sales at all WWE events worldwide.
Here’s the presser:
WWE® & FANATICS EXPAND PARTNERSHIP TO INCLUDE ALL GLOBAL EVENT RETAIL AND MERCHANDISE OPERATIONS
STAMFORD, Conn. and NEW YORK, April 18, 2023 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) and Fanatics today announced an expansion of their existing comprehensive, long-term sports and entertainment partnership, which will now see Fanatics assume operations of WWE’s global event merchandise business. The deal will kick off on May 1 before WWE’s premium live event, Backlash®.
Under the expanded partnership, Fanatics Commerce, the company’s e-commerce, licensed merchandise and physical retail operations division, will manage the on-site event retail experience for WWE’s annual calendar of 300-plus events, including premium live events such as WrestleMania®, Royal Rumble® and SummerSlam®.
Fanatics will work closely and collaboratively with world-class teams at WWE who previously operated the event retail business in-house for decades to optimize the event shopping experience for its growing global fanbase. This includes curating an enhanced in-venue product offering with more localized merchandise collections, creating innovative event retail stores and experiences, as well as utilizing Fanatics-operated team stores during various live events. Fanatics holds physical retail partnerships with more than 50 professional and college teams across several sports.
The expansion follows strong commercial results for WWE across its retail channels in 2022, including record-breaking demand for WWE merchandise. Fanatics became WWE’s global e-commerce partner in 2022, and the company saw record-breaking sales at WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, Money In The Bank® and SummerSlam, among others.
“Fanatics has been an amazing partner and will immediately bolster WWE’s event retail business,” said Alex Varga, WWE Senior Vice President, Head of Corporate Development. “Expanding our partnership will allow WWE to further expand our offering to fans and grow merchandise revenue in 2023 and beyond.”
In March 2022, WWE and Fanatics announced a long-term partnership that would utilize many parts of the Fanatics expanded digital sports platform to create a new, enhanced experience for WWE fans globally, including e-commerce, licensed merchandise and memorabilia, and physical and digital trading cards and collectibles.
“The WWE has built one of the most incredible global events portfolios across sports and entertainment, and we’re honored that they’ve tapped Fanatics to build on our overarching partnership together,” said Molly Adams, Fanatics Commerce Chief Strategic Retail Officer. “Through our expansive global footprint and event retail operations expertise, Fanatics is uniquely positioned to provide an unrivaled event retail experience for WWE’s passionate fans at hundreds of events worldwide.”
WWE Backlash®, hosted by Bad Bunny, emanates from the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday, May 6.
This may not effect the average wrestling fan all that much, although if it works well there should be more ways to buy merch you’re interested in at and around shows. It should please shareholders quite a bit, though. If everything goes according to plan, WWE will be reducing overhead & in-house expenditures while increasing sales revenue... which results in bigger numbers on the bottom line.