Fandeavor's small-business journey is part of a larger push to revitalize Las Vegas, where the 10-person company is based.
Fandeavor's seed funding round last year was led by Tony Hsieh, chief executive of Zappos.com, which in 2009 announced it would be sold to Amazon.com.
Well known for fostering a company culture based on high customer service, Hsieh is now also leading Downtown Project — a multimillion-dollar push to revive Las Vegas. That effort includes $50 million in private funding for tech startups through the VegasTech Fund.
Small-Business Variety Beyond Bars
"Downtown Las Vegas already has numerous bars, and our neighborhood needs a diverse array of businesses to contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of the community," according to the Downtown Project's website. The project is accepting small-business ideas for review online.
The idea is to expand beyond Zappos' company-campus bubble and invest and interact with the community they work and live in. A few years ago, the Vegas startup scene was nascent. Small tech employers have since relocated to downtown Las Vegas.
"It's really happening here and it's pretty exciting to be a part of it," Hsieh told CNBC in December.
Ellingson and fellow Fandeavor co-founder Dean Curtis both worked at Zappos, where they merged their sports passion with work experience in sports marketing and corporate hospitality.
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Business is faring well despite a stagnant economy, Ellingson said.
"We're seeing that despite the shaky economy, fans are willing to pay for experiential items that they can share with friends and family," Ellingson said. "There's more of an emphasis from our customers on creating memories than purchasing physical items."
Fandeavor's offerings now span select partnerships with NASCAR, college basketball and baseball teams, and the National Football League's San Diego Chargers. The company is focused on broadening its partnerships with other sports franchises — and even considering options to sell unique experiences beyond sports. (My vote is for fashion!)
And it turns out, women come to the site and buy experiences for the men in their lives. "We've had a lot of customer traffic from women," Ellingson said. "They tend to be the planners."
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— Written by CNBC's Heesun Wee; Follow her on Twitter