Recently, Fanatics and the University of Alabama announced a new platform partnership for the upcoming 2022 season. The two have worked together for the last 10 years, and the new partnership hopes to expand on Fanatics’ involvement in the Alabama fan experience.
What will Fanatics do to expand the Roll Tide experience?
With the new partnership, Fanatics has secured unparalleled access and commercial rights to Roll Tide experience. The rights and access include an extension of their current e-commerce rights, which has previously supported their relationship. Fanatics also plans to roll out new fan apparel and headwear, physical and digital trading cards and Alabama collectibles.
In addition, Fanatics is set to launch the first retail store, called The Authentic, in the Bryant-Denny Stadium during the 2022 football season. In a Fanatics press release, Alabama’s Director of Athletics, Greg Byrne stated, “By taking advantage of the expanded breadth of Fanatics’ services, we have put our University and student-athletes in a position to maximize sales and brand exposure with Fanatics’ blue-chip family of brands, including Fanatics Commerce, Topps, and Candy Digital. I think our fans will be fans will be fired up when they see everything come together inside The Authentic shop at Bryant-Denny, which we plan to open this season.”
The store is going to sell team apparel and NIL merchandise including game-used memorabilia and digital trading cards from Topps. NIL merchandise expected to be sold in the store includes custom Nike player jerseys, name and number t-shirts and headwear. The Authentic will also sell NIL merchandise for members of all sports based on consumer demand.
In addition, The Authentic will provide NIL opportunities such as autographing memorabilia, having fan meet and greets and developing social media marketing.
What else can fans of the Crimson Tide expect from this partnership?
With the creation of more merchandise and the store, Fanatics will solely design, manufacture, and distribute the Crimson Tide apparel. In Fanatics’ press release, Executive Vice President of Fanatics College, Derek Eiler stated, “The University of Alabama has high expectations for fan experience and engagement, so by creating a one-stop-shop to address all of the University’s needs, we were able to align on a transformative partnership to make a profound impact on Alabama Athletics.”
Though this new partnership is more extensive, the fulfillment services Fanatics is comparable to Campus Ink’s fulfillment with Indiana. Fanatics is also planning to distribute the expanded merchandise across multiple retail channels outside of the stadium store.
Currently, Topps and Fanatics Collectibles have the rights to design, manufacture, and distribute physical and digital trading cards, for both current and previous Alabama athletes. Starting in 2025, Fanatics Collectibles will be Alabama’s exclusive trading card partner. More details on trading card fulfillment between Topps and Fanatics Collectibles can be found here. Candy Digital will be charged with creating digital collectibles and NFTs of selected past and current Alabama players.
Hopefully, more details on the new retail store and the partnership will be released in the coming weeks.