Walmart has landed a deal with sports apparel marketplace Fanatics to sell NFL jerseys, NBA T-shirts and other sports-related merchandise on Walmart.com.
The deal shows just how serious Walmart is in rivaling Amazon on the internet and builds on its partnerships with and acquisitions of other clothing retailers. Walmart already has a marketplace on its website selling Lord & Taylor dresses, for example, and late last year added Moosejaw, an outdoor apparel brand it had already acquired, to its website.
Walmart has signed a long-term partnership with Fanatics, said Eric O'Toole, general manager of retail merchandising for Walmart's e-commerce business in the United States. Thousands of items from Fanatics will now be available on Walmart.com, starting Tuesday, including merchandise from brands like Nike and New Era, O'Toole added. That includes licensed apparel, jerseys, hats and tailgating goods. Fanatics will now be the exclusive provider of all licensed sports merchandise on Walmart.com.
Walmart didn't disclose the financial terms or duration of this agreement.
In addition to building out its own brand, Fanatics operates websites such as NFLShop.com, NBAStore.com, MLBShop.com, NASCARShop.com and MLSStore.com. The company holds exclusive licensing rights to produce and distribute merchandise for all major professional sports leagues, according to its website. That means Walmart will now be able to get the latest fan gear to shoppers more quickly, according to O'Toole.
In expanding Walmart's website, O'Toole said the retailer has been "focused on adding harder-to-find specialty items and premium products."
In many ways, Walmart with its latest deals is going after younger shoppers who haven't traditionally thought to shop its stores. The big-box retailer wants millennials and Gen-Z consumers to think of Walmart.com especially as a destination for everything they need: clothing, bedding, home decor, groceries and other everyday essentials like deodorant and makeup. Walmart made it clear it was embarking on this plan when it bought Jet.com in 2016.
Since then, Walmart has acquired ModCloth, Moosejaw, Bonobos, Eloquii, Bare Necessities and most recently Art.com. Marc Lore, head of Walmart's U.S. e-commerce business, has said the company could one day own upwards of 40 digitally native brands — those that start online without stores.
Speaking earlier this month at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York, Fanatics founder Michael Rubin said the company would be generating as much as $2.8 billion in revenue in 2019. He hinted that Fanatics' next move would be to sell on another online marketplace.