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Formula 1 Extends Fanatics Deal Following 40% Surge in Sales

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

They say success is its own reward, but it also doesn’t hurt when one of your biggest customers extends your contract after an impressive boost in sales.

That’s what happened with sports merchandising giant Fanatics, who saw their exclusive Merch deal with the Formula 1 racing organization extended after sales revenue exploded by 40%.

Formula 1 Merch has been flying off the racing organization’s e-commerce site, after F1 signed up with Fanatics for merchandise production and distribution.

“Formula 1 is delighted to announce that Fanatics, the global leader in licensed sports merchandise, will become the sport’s exclusive merchandise retail partner at Grand Prix weekends and online from the 2018 season onwards,” the organization said in a statement. “With the announcement of this partnership, F1 seeks to make a significant step change forward in the growth of its consumer products licensing division, as well as to create a streamlined, omni-channel retail experience for fans buying at the Grand Prix, online and from their phones.”

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1, says the organization wants to uncork the potential of its consumer product channels by engaging Fanatics to create that “streamlined, omnichannel” experience.

“We have undergone extensive research at each Grand Prix, which suggests that fans are looking for a more streamlined retail experience,” said Bratches. “We strongly believe that this partnership will improve the quality of the shopping experience at Grand Prix.

“Enclosed tents, shorter lines, an expanded and improved merchandise range are all priorities for F1 and for Fanatics. The net impact will yield an increase in sales, both for F1 branded products and the teams. Of greater importance, we believe it will drive a lower friction fan experience, and that is our number 1 priority.”

A mobile-first, multi-channel company, Fanatics operates more than 300 online and offline stores, including the e-commerce business for all major American professional sports leagues, (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, PGA), major media brands (NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports) and more than 200 collegiate and professional team properties, which include several of the biggest global football clubs (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City among others.)

Fanatics says it will elevate the merchandise assortment by offering a wider range of premium products from Formula 1 and the 10 teams participating to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and items specific to each Grand Prix. The company’s innovative vertical manufacturing model and agile supply chain, which has proven successful in North America and is being rolled out across several global markets will put real-time apparel in conjunction with the fast-paced race calendar in the hands of Formula 1 fans across all retail channels faster than ever before.

In fact, Fanatics has already shown it can get the job done, as the license extension was agreed to following an absolutely stellar performance in 2020 and early 2021. Sales on the official online F1 Store grew by more than 40% globally, with products being delivered directly to fans in 143 countries around the world.

That performance just got better in the first six months of this years, as sales on the Ecommerce site exploded with triple digit growth, as compared to the same period last year.

But Fanatics is not done yet, saying the new retail experience will make it easier for fans to purchase souvenirs from additional vending locations around the circuit, as well as the enclosed Superstore location in the Fanzone. Premium storefronts will be also introduced for supporters at the Paddock Club. All Fanatics locations will be integrated into F1’s digital concierge app for fans at the circuit, called F1 Grand Prix (available free on Apple and Android app stores). The agreement also includes an extension of Formula 1’s online store partnership with Fanatics.

“Formula 1 fans are among the most passionate and tech-savvy spectators in the sports world and we are excited to offer them a new and improved multi-channel retail experience with a significantly expanded assortment of high quality products surrounding Grand Prix events this season, said Fanatics International president Steve Davis. “There are few properties in sport with a broader and more global audience, and F1’s fanbase aligns perfectly with many priority growth markets for Fanatics as we become an increasingly international brand.”

The team at Formula 1 says they’re thrilled with the success of the program so far, and see growth in consumer products as a critical path to revenue growth.

“Merchandise and apparel is an untapped growth opportunity for F1.  Fanatics is a market leader in delivering premium retail experiences at global sporting events,” said Frank Arthofer, the Director of Licensing for Formula 1. “At F1 races, premium products ranging from team memorabilia to race specific souvenirs that fans cherish will now be available at a more affordable price than ever before.”