Fanatics Hires CFO After Topps Deal For Collectibles Business

Sporting goods retailer Fanatics Inc. has hired a treasurer for its collectibles business, which will grow following the acquisition of Topps Co.’s trading card and memorabilia unit and a recent funding round that valued the privately held company. The value is $31 billion.

Greg Abovsky started as chief financial officer of the collectibles business earlier this month, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fanatics said this week. gentlemen. Abovsky most recently served as CFO of StubHub Holdings, a Viagogo Entertainment Inc.-owned ticket seller, for less than two years, and before that he was COO and CFO of Russian search engine operator Yandex NV. His appointment at Fanatics follows the company’s appointment in October of Andrea Ellis as treasurer of its nascent gaming division.

As Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Abovsky plans to build out the unit’s finance team and its trading card business as it seeks to expand.

The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Fanatics bought Topps’ trading card and memorabilia business for about $500 million. Earlier this month, it raised about $700 million from a group of investors that included private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group LP and investment and merchant banking firm LionTree LLC, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company previously raised $1.5 billion in March at a $27 billion valuation.

Greg Abovsky, new Chief Financial Officer for Fanatics Inc. Collectibles Division.


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Fanatics’ portfolio of trading cards will expand beyond baseball in the coming years, and the company last summer won the rights to print cards for the National Football League and National Basketball Association, among other leagues.

While Fanatics won’t start distributing NBA and NFL cards for the next few years, it provides “intrinsic growth” for the company’s collectibles business that will come over time, sir. Abowski said. The company’s rights to the collegiate sports collectibles will begin next year.

According to Verified Market Research, the global sports trading card market is expected to grow from approximately $44 billion in 2022 to $98.7 billion by 2027. The global market for sports collectibles, including memorabilia, generated about $84 billion in revenue this year, with $50 billion in the U.S. alone, the research and consulting firm said.

Collectibles chief executive Mike Mahan said Fanatics plans to expand its product portfolio into cultural and entertainment cards. “If you look at the fan base and the passion for an artiste, especially in the music industry, we think there’s a huge opportunity not only domestically but globally,” Mr. Mahan said. But he said sports would remain the company’s main business focus.

Similar to the holding company, the collectibles business with around 500 employees generates positive EBITDA as well as positive cash flow, sir. Abowski said. He declined to provide specific figures.

Fanatics expects its collectibles business to do well over the next few years, despite the potential threat of a recession. “The collectibles industry, like the art market, is not immune to broader secular trends,” Mr. Mahan said. “That said, sports tend to be a very resilient passion, even in recessionary times.”

Over time, Fanatics may expand its portfolio to include more digital assets, Mr. Mahan said. “We think digital is going to be an important strategic part of our future work,” he said, noting the company’s rights to non-fungible tokens and other digital assets in future rights deals.

gentlemen. Abovsky said one of his top priorities will be to further integrate the Topps business, including merging the enterprise resource planning system and other technology platforms.

An ERP system combines a series of business processes in a common data or network structure.

At Fanatics, the collectibles business is part of a larger plan to create a business that spans merchandise, memorabilia, gaming and eventually sports media rights, said Richard Greenfield, partner and analyst at technology, media and telecommunications research firm LightShed Partners. sports world.

“Fanatics is trying to become the Amazon of sports. It’s a very natural shift from merch to collectibles,” Mr. Greenfield said.

Both Mr. Abowski and Mr. Mahan declined to comment on whether and when Fanatics could be listed on the public market. The company plans to wait until the new issuance market reopens and some of its newer lines of business are more mature, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

Write to Nina Trentmann at

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