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Volume 21 No. 26

People and Pop Culture

Fanatics continues to roil the sports licensed-product market with a collection of important rights, retail operations across teams and venues, and a vertical model often discussed, but rarely implemented. Raphael Peck, a veteran of Oakley and Under Armour, heads manufacturing and all other aspects of the company’s in-house merchandise division.

We like to think of ourselves as a serial acquirer of [licensing] rights. Then we apply our vertical and omnichannel model to them, hitting a wide range of consumers.

On Fanatics’ approach: We’ve developed a disruptive model that started in e-commerce and continued as we added manufacturing capabilities, Majestic’s operational excellence, and our own Fanatics branded, based on verticality. When you put all those together, it’s a pretty transformative model. The Holy Grail to make all that work is hyper-agility and de-risking our supply chain, so we’re not as dependent on the ups and downs created by wins, losses and player trades.

On launching NBA and NHL replica jerseys this season: It’s been 16 or 17 years since any brand (Reebok) tried to launch two different league jerseys at once. From a logistics and a vertical integration perspective, it has been challenging. By no means have we been perfect. We’re getting units out there slower than we had hoped, but the sell-through has been positive. … We’re fully focused now on getting caught up with demand and moving through the vertical integration pain of launching two jerseys and two companies at once.

Any interest in manufacturing non-apparel-licensed products? I will never say never to (licensed) hard goods, but we have bitten off more than enough with the vertical integration of Majestic. Looking at the challenges for next year, we want to focus on getting our executional issues fixed, before we consider vertical manufacturing in any other categories.

On the growth prospects in sports licensing: We’ll do better in assortment, supply chain and our ability to service hot markets and overall execution. 2018 could be a pivotal year for us, with new and exclusive rights for the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl and with MLS. We’re going from 550,000 square feet of manufacturing to well over a million. Think about that when it comes to our ability to scale.

On the acquisition of Majestic Athletic and domestic production capabilities: We bought a manufacturing engine in Majestic which gives us the ability to do 45 million to 50 million additional (screen-printed) impressions a year. Owning that has added tremendous speed and scale to service hot markets, where you have to finish and ship the majority of your products within three days.

On manufacturing might: A lot of our holiday sales is chase business. We see what the customer wants and really rev up the manufacturing engine to go after that. Around 60-65 percent of everything (Fanatics labeled) next year will be manufactured or finished by us. We’re continuing to move our model more toward unfinished products, where we can add speed and agility to the post-embellishment process.

                                                                                                                            — Terry Lefton

Making meaningful connections, telling stories effectively, leveraging data: Topics like these were on the table at the Stadium Sports Marketing Symposium Nov. 1-2 in New York City. Stars in the business like Greg Norman and representatives of brands such as Samsung, Mastercard and Corona shared their views from the stage.


The opening panel, “Eyes Wide Open: What’s Keeping You Up at Night?”: The NFL’s Renie Anderson, the NHL’s Keith Wachtel, Optimum Sports’ Tom McGovern, moderator Terry Lefton of SBJ/SBD, Stadium’s Dan Scalia and AT&T’s Mark Wright.
From a panel on athlete endorsements: Moderator Mori Taheripour from the Wharton School, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and Wasserman’s Lindsay Kagawa Colas
UM Worldwide’s Chad Stoller on reaching
millennials and Gen Z
Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar
The Dallas Cowboys’ Joe Simler (left) and Scott Erdmann and Learfield’s Sophia Kelly
The NBA G League’s Malcolm Turner
John Alvarado of Constellation Brands’ Corona
Young attendees from the High School of Sports Management
Werner Brell of Samsung Electronics America
Golf hall of famer and entrepreneur Greg Norman speaks during an onstage interview with SBJ/SBD Executive Editor Abe Madkour.

Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.


1. “The Sting”
2. “The Godfather”
3. “Goodfellas”
4. “Braveheart”
5. “Bull Durham”


1. Running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in support and in the name of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We’ve raised over $200,000 to date.
2. Dec. 29, 2007: The Patriots beat the Giants in old Giants Stadium to finish the 2007 regular season 16-0.
3. Sept. 25, 2006: Hosted “NFL Total Access” from New Orleans prior to the reopening of the Superdome next to New Orleans native Marshall Faulk.
4. Emceed the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction and Jacket Ceremonies in years NFL Network colleagues and friends Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Rod Woodson, Kurt Warner, LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis all got enshrined. What a thrill.
5. In the first year network management acquiesced to my years-long ask to have me pick games on air, I won the 2016 Picks Pool on “NFL GameDay Morning” over all the aforementioned Hall of Fame analysts and Steve Mariucci. Also, what a thrill.


1. Tom Brady. Enough said.
2. Aaron Rodgers talking about the “Game of Thrones” finale. Twice.
3. Brett Favre appeared via satellite from Mississippi to surprise the Farrelly Brothers during their in-studio appearance, and they all hadn’t spoken since “There’s Something About Mary.”
4. Reggie Jackson has appeared multiple times. He’s my childhood idol. The 7-year-old in me gets quite fired up.
5. Joe Namath called in to sing me “Happy Birthday.”


1. “Midnight Run”
2. “The In-Laws” (the Alan Arkin/Peter Falk version)
3. “Blazing Saddles”
4. “The Producers” (the Zero Mostel/Gene Wilder version)
5. “Trading Places”



1. Tom Hanks talking his love of the Raiders and Ken Stabler.
2. Matthew McConaughey recounting the genesis of “Alright, Alright, Alright” is a classic.
3. Breaking down Deflategate with Matt Damon.
4. “Breaking Bad” and “Seinfeld” talk with Bryan Cranston.
5. Ed O’Neill recounting his getting cut by Chuck Noll at Steelers training camp in 1969.
5A. The first guest for a “Rich Eisen Show” Super Bowl Week show was actress Marisa Tomei, fresh off Bill Belichick dropping a “Mona Lisa Vito” reference in a press conference prior to Super Bowl 49.