Fanatics, the digital sports platform and e-commerce giant, has expanded its presence in Japan by partnering with four more sports teams.
The company today announced new long-term tie-ups with Kashima Antlers, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and V-Varen Nagasaki, which takes the number of top-tier Japanese J.League soccer clubs in the Fanatics stable to five.
They are joined by the Nagasaki Velca basketball team, and in total 11 sports clubs across Japan now have partnerships with the major retailer.
The Kashima Antlers, the J.League’s most successful club with eight titles, will partner with Fanatics from early 2024 to work across both product planning and manufacturing, as well as management of stadium and clubhouse retail stores.
Fanatics, which has office and manufacturing facilities in Tokyo, now partners with many of the biggest clubs in Japan including the Softbank Hawks, Tokyo Giants, Kashima Antlers, and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
The long-term agreement with Sanfrecce Hiroshima will see Fanatics become the exclusive operator for the club’s online e-commerce store from the summer of 2024, in addition to operating onsite retail at the club’s new stadium, Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima, which is set to open in February 2024.
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The partnership will also see Fanatics granted the rights to manufacture official merchandise for the club, which will be able to utilize Fanatics’ technology infrastructure and in-house manufacturing capability in Japan to create and distribute a broad assortment of high-quality merchandise to fans.
Under the new partnership with V-Varen Nagasaki and Nagasaki Velca, meanwhile, Fanatics will take over merchandise operations from the 2025 season. This will include designing, manufacturing, and distributing V-Varen Nagasaki and Nagasaki Velca branded products, as well as managing both the official e-commerce store and physical retail shops inside and outside the stadium and arena, including the new Nagasaki Stadium City scheduled to open in the latter months of 2024.
Fanatics claims Japan is now one of the fastest-growing countries for its Fanatics Commerce business.
Masanori Kawana, managing director of East Asia for Fanatics, said: “We are extremely proud to have announced new partnerships with three more J.League clubs and our first basketball club based in Japan.
“Japanese fans are incredibly passionate and as experts in licensed sports merchandising with extensive experience globally and locally here in Japan, we will make every effort to provide fans of all our new partner clubs with a wide range of relevant merchandise and first-class retail experiences for many years to come.”
In July, meanwhile, Fanatics partnered with e-commerce giant Rakuten to launch its first online marketplace in Japan.
Over recent years, Fanatics has expanded into several key international markets and has more than 900 sports partnerships with sports clubs and organizations in total, including with Formula 1, MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, UEFA, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea, The FA, and the AFL.
The US-based online sportswear and equipment retailer last month added the Argentine Football Association to its vast portfolio.