The Hustle

🏀 The $18B sports merch startup

The Hustle - Silicon Valley Tech News


August 12, 2021

Hackers recently stole $610m+ in cryptocurrency by exploiting the blockchain platform Poly Network. In response, Poly kindly requested they return the funds — or face the law. By yesterday afternoon, $260m had been returned. The lesson: kindness is worth $260m.

Today’s rundown:

  • Beyond jerseys: Fanatics raises $325m to build digital products.
  • Disability-friendly clothing is a $1B+ space that could grow 60x.
  • Coke, the NFT company.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

Fanatics just proved there’s big money in jersey sales

And now they want to move beyond the merch.

The company raised a $325m round that values the firm at $18B, increasing its valuation ~3x from a year ago, per WSJ.

Fanatics has been taking over sports merch 1 league at a time

The company boasts partnerships that make them the official online retailer for:

  • Major US sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA, MLS, UFC)
  • 150+ universities
  • Major media outlets (CBS Sports, Fox Sports, NBC Sports)
  • Select companies overseas

In the process of growing its multi-sport merchandise monopoly, the firm has built up an email list of 83m sports fans.

Now they plan to use the funding to expand into other digital products

Fanatics already launched its own NFT company, Candy Digital, earlier this year and wants to expand into other digital domains, including:

  • Sports betting and internet gambling
  • Sports media
  • Ticketing and events

The firm plans to start with sports betting, a hot space that just got hotter with DraftKings announcing plans to buy Golden Nugget Online Gaming earlier this week.

Fanatics is coming prepared — recently hiring FanDuel’s former CEO Matt King to lead the venture.

Next stop, NYSE?

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin says the company will go public eventually — but first, it wants to expand.

The firm expects to generate ~$3.4B in revenue this year, 80% of which comes from sales to consumers through Fanatics’ website and those of its partners.

The new round should give them plenty of resources to diversify their revenue streams.

SNIPPETS

Want to work at Saks Fifth Avenue… sort of? HBC and WeWork are launching 5 “SaksWorks” coworking spaces in New York. #ecommerce-retail

MFM: Steph Smith subs for Sam Parr to chat about the FSA store, better conference swag, localized products, and more. #mfm

Startup 44.01 raised $5m to turn greenhouse gas CO2 into calcite. This process occurs naturally when CO2, water, and peridotite react. #clean-energy

Google employees who want to keep working from home may face a pay cut. #big-tech

Okay, this is fun: Researchers in South Korea built a robotic chameleon, and yes, its skin does change color. #emerging-tech

A round-up of 10 crypto and blockchain funding rounds that raised a total of $3.9B. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Fashion for Everyone

Unhidden is a clothing brand meant for people with disabilities (Source: Unhidden)

Disability-friendly clothing is a hot (and inclusive) retail trend

Good news: It’s getting easier for people and parents of children with disabilities to find clothes that work for them as retailers lean into the adaptive clothing market.

What’s adaptive clothing?

Adaptive clothing is designed for people with disabilities. For example:

  • Clothes that use magnetic or Velcro closures, which are easier for people with limited dexterity to fasten than buttons or zippers
  • Clothes without seams or tags for people with sensory issues
  • Clothes with openings for ports, feeding tubes, etc.

Some brands specialize in adaptive clothing — such as Silverts or Unhidden — but other major retailers are jumping on board, too.

  • Tommy Hilfiger, inspired by his children with autism, designed an adaptive line in 2016 and will now release 2 collections per year.
  • Target has expanded its line since launching in 2017 to include Halloween costumes and furniture
  • JCPenney just released an adaptive line for kids through its private brand Thereabouts, plus added adaptive accessories to its website

In the US, 61m adults — or 26% — have a disability, per the CDC. The adaptive clothing market is predicted to hit $1B+ this year, but analysts with Coresight Research told The Washington Post it could grow to bring in $64.3B per year.

Curious about adaptive clothing for yourself or someone in your family? Here are 53 places to find it.

Free Resource

The (customer’s) journey is the destination

Some businesses use “sales funnels.” Others use “flywheels.”

No matter what you call it, a seamless customer road map is an essential piece of every great marketing machine.

Here are 7 free templates to help you outline your entire retail, ecommerce, B2B, or B2C marketing plan — courtesy of HubSpot.

Buyer personas, pain points, journey mapping

Sink your teeth into this process.

Mapping out each touch point has bountiful benefits. Visualization gives your team the clarity it needs to keep on working steadily toward true north.

Use this step-by-step guide to embark on a better direction.

Adventure time →
Emerging Tech

Yep, that’s a Coca-Cola NFT (Source: Forbes / Coca-Cola)

A company founded in 1892 just launched a series of NFTs

In the past few months, we’ve seen an influx of big-brand players in the NFT (nonfungible token) space:

  • Pringles popped the top on CryptoCrisp, a never-before-tasted virtual flavor
  • Taco Bell released a series of digital tacos
  • Charmin rolled out its own toilet paper-themed NFTPs
  • Campbell’s partnered with artist Sophia Chang to celebrate its new label design
  • Dunkaroos — the legendary ‘90s cookie brand owned by General Mills — unleashed 10 “New Frosting Tokens”

The most recent convert is Coca-Cola, which partnered with Tafi, a Utah-based startup, to release a series of 4 NFTs .

Coke’s digital offerings range from a metallic red bubble jacket…

… to digital versions of 1940s trading cards.

The launch feels on-brand next to the company’s website, which offers a long list of limited-edition collectibles, including a:

  • Set of Norman Rockwell Coca-Cola prints for $400
  • Vintage German Trink cooler for $550
  • Steuben Crystal 125th Anniversary bottle for $275

But will Coke’s digital assets actually work?

Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of VaynerMedia and an NFT-optimist, believes most branded NFTs will be disastrous.

He says the secret recipe is combining the right “assets” with the appropriate “cultural cachet.”

Coca-Cola knows a thing or 2 about secret recipes, but with animal NFTs being all the rage these days, leaving its iconic polar bears out of the 1st NFT drop feels like a missed opportunity.

AROUND THE WEB

🖥️ On this day: In 1981, IBM debuted its 1st personal computer (PC) model, IBM 5150. The base model cost ~$1.5k (or $3.9k today).

🏰 That’s cool: This video compares the size of fictional buildings, including Yoda’s hut, Hogwarts, the Red Keep, and the dome in “The Truman Show.”

🎈Haha: If your name is Kyle, the city of Kyle, Texas, would like you to help break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Kyles on Sept. 4. (It’s also a hot air balloon festival.)

💰Hmm: Capitol Trades tracks which stocks US politicians are trading. For example, it claims Marjorie Taylor Greene — currently suspended from Twitter — just bought Clorox stock.

📻 Cure boredom: Wanna know what Iceland was rocking out to in the 1970s? This website will play you the top jams of any place and decade you choose.

🐕 Wholesome: Watch this dog play a game of tic-tac-toe.

Meme of the day

This hasn’t happened yet… but feels inevitable (Source: SportsMemes.net)

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