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Volume 20 No. 42
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Lauren Cooks Levitan, Fanatics

Photo by: FANATICS

t has been a whirlwind year for Fanatics, and Chief Financial Officer Lauren Cooks Levitan has played an important role in the e-commerce company’s quick and substantial growth. 

Lauren Cooks Levitan
Fanatics // Chief financial officer
Levitan came aboard Fanatics as CFO in June 2015 and has been a key player not only in securing equity stakes from the NFL, MLB and NFLPA but also in the company’s largest acquisition to date: the purchase of VF’s Licensed Sports Group in April. In less than a month, Levitan was able to oversee the integration of 2,000 employees across multiple offices into Fanatics, all while she was orchestrating the opening of the company’s first West Coast distribution center in North Las Vegas.

Within Fanatics’ quick rise in the sports licensing business, Levitan has been a key behind-the-scenes facilitator, helping to identify and execute aggressive and strategic initiatives. While Fanatics’ revenue last year topped $1.4 billion, financial analysts estimate the company could generate closer to $2.2 billion this year.

A personal highlight for Levitan came in early November, when the die-hard Cubs fan got to witness her team capture its first World Series title in more than 100 years. But the icing on the cake? The Cubs’ win fueled the largest hot market in sports licensing history.

“I grew up in a sports household, and now I run a sports household. These are special life events for people, and Fanatics can play an important role in that. That one obviously hit home for me. That night one of the biggest sports moments in history really aligned with the very things we’re doing as a company. There’s simply no playbook for what we’re doing.”

— Thomas Leary

  • Where born: Chicago.
  • Education: Duke University, B.A.; Stanford University, MBA.
  • Attribute I look for when hiring: Passion.
  • Networking tip I’ve learned: Do what you say and say what you mean.
  •  Best advice I’ve received for career development: There is no such thing as being overprepared.
  • Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: Seeking input from a wide range of people.
  •  If I had it to do over again, I would: Play two! (in the words of “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks)
  • Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Venus Williams. I admire her longevity as a player and tenacity to drive for groundbreaking pay equity in sports.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? This is the same discussion that should continue to take place in all industries, not just sports. The more that people (men and women alike) understand the barriers impacting opportunities for others, the greater the potential for positive change.
  •  Cause supported: TextLess Live More, a student-led national awareness campaign to end distracted driving and prevent tragic accidents caused by texting and other distractions.