Phoenix Suns add another partnership, pairing up with Fanatics

Key Points
  • Fanatics now has e-commerce deals with 13 National Basketball Association clubs.
  • Fanatics will oversee the Suns' online, mobile and in-venue team shops at Phoenix Suns Arena in what is labeled an "omnichannel retail partnership."
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball during the game against the Houston Rockets on April 5, 2021 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Cato Cataldo | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns announced Tuesday it will partner with sports merchandise company Fanatics.

Fanatics will oversee the Suns' online, mobile and in-venue team shops at Phoenix Suns Arena in what is labeled an "omnichannel retail partnership." Fanatics will also control e-commerce operations for the Suns' sister team, the Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association, and collaborate with team jersey patch partner PayPal for payment options for consumers.

Fanatics said the deal is "long-term" but didn't provide financial details. In such agreements, National Basketball Association clubs usually provide Fanatics with a percentage of net revenue from merchandise sold.

The NBA said the team ranks in the top half of merchandise sales but didn't respond to messages seeking where the team exactly ranks. The Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors are the top three clubs on the list, which ranks the most popular team merchandise for the first half of the NBA's 2020-21 season.

"We're really excited about the collaborative approach and the future innovations that we'll create together," Ed O'Brien, Fanatics senior vice president of business development, said in a statement announcing the Suns deal.

Fanatics now operates 13 NBA clubs. In March, the company raised $320 million in new funding, giving it a valuation of $12.8 billion, up from $6.2 billion last August. And in February, it started its Fanatics China operation, joining investment firm Hillhouse Capital.

Fanatics expects its China operation will be worth over $1 billion.

The Suns are preparing for the NBA's postseason for the first time in a decade. The team is currently sitting second in the Western Conference with a 48-20 record.

Business partnerships are accumulating now that the club is back in contention. The Suns announced an alliance with FanDuel to capitalize on Arizona's decision to allow mobile wagering. And last November, Verizon acquired the naming rights to the Suns' new $45 million practice center.

The team has a significant asset open with its arena name, though. The Suns completed upgrades to their downtown complex via a $230 million project with the help of city funding. Suns CEO Jason Rowley told CNBC in April the naming rights slot is gaining interest.

"We're making sure we pick the right partner, and it's a good fit for the partner and us," he said. "These are long-term relationships that need to be mutual and beneficial."

Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast and NBC Sports are investors in FanDuel.

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