Fanatics Signs Merchandising Deal With Overwatch League
Fanatics has signed a deal "granting it wide-ranging merchandising rights for Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, the second-largest global esports property," according to Fischer & Lefton of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal makes Fanatics "master licensee and worldwide retailer" for the OWL. Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues CRO Brandon Snow said of Fanatics, "What they really do is allow us to scale this on a global basis quite quickly, to get fan gear to all our teams around the world." Fischer & Lefton note Fanatics’ rights "include manufacturing and distribution across wholesale and retail for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar locations." Notably, it "excludes South Korea and China, the most developed esports markets that are home to five OWL teams, though Fanatics could acquire those rights in a later deal." Previously, licensing and merchandising was "handled in-house by Activision Blizzard." A Fanatics-run dedicated site, shop.overwatchleague.com, is "slated to be operating by mid-January, with around 20 SKUs for each of the league’s teams, a number that’s expected to double before the end of the season next summer." OWL merchandise also "will be available on Fanatics.com early next year" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/3 issue).