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Fanatics lands deal with South Korean e-commerce giant

Coupang contract gives US firm access to world’s fifth largest market.

by Tom Bassam

Fanatics lands deal with South Korean e-commerce giant

Sports retail giant Fanatics has signed a ten-year partnership with South Korea’s largest e-commerce firm Coupang to sell US sportswear and merchandise in the Asian country.

SportsPro understands that the two companies, which are both backed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, will activate the deal this summer, when Fanatics will become the exclusive sports merchandise provider to Coupang.

The deal provides Fanatics partners - which include the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and numerous individual sports teams - a direct way of selling into South Korea’s vast e-commerce market, currently the world’s the fifth largest, via Coupang, a platform that claims one in two adults in Korea as a user.

For the Korean company, it gains exclusive access a large selection of its new partner's assorted products, which is made up of more than a million total stock keeping units.

Fanatics dramatically expanded its operations in 2018, unveiling a new office and on-demand manufacturing capabilities in Japan as well as a distribution facility in Hong Kong.

Regarding the deal, Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin told TechCrunch: “Marketplaces represent an important channel for e-commerce, especially internationally, and leagues and clubs want their official licensed products available to fans everywhere in the world.

“Our global marketplace strategy is a way to do just that by offering access to our industry-leading and exclusive inventory, but in a disciplined way that eliminates counterfeits and offers an improved brand presentation that benefits all parties. This is our second marketplace deal and we expect many more in the future.”

The Coupang arrangement comes soon after Fanatics secured a long-term deal in January to sell its officially licensed fan gear in the US via the website of retail giant Walmart.