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Merchandising

DFB extends Fanatics deal on back of record-breaking year

Featured image credit: Fanatics

Featured image credit: Fanatics

Global sports merchandising company Fanatics has agreed a long-term extension to its existing omnichannel retail partnership with the German Football Association (DFB) in a deal which will widen its existing remit with the organisation.

The expanded and extended partnership, encompassing both UEFA Euro 2024 and the 2026 FIFA World Cup, will see Fanatics retain exclusive global e-commerce rights with the DFB and run the official DFB-Fanshop as well as operate DFB on-site retail during home games and finals of the DFB-Pokal club competition.

Germany is hosting Euro 2024 and Fanatics in September extended and expanded its partnership with UEFA in what was described as one of the most comprehensive sports merchandising partnerships in European football.

The national team football deal with the European governing body, for both the men’s and women’s games, was an extension of the previous event retail partnership announced in July 2019 and saw Fanatics gain e-commerce rights and the right to design and manufacture unbranded apparel. The partnership will see Fanatics continue to operate event retail at UEFA’s major international events, including Euro 2024.

Building upon the previous arrangement with the DFB, which commenced in January 2019, Fanatics now has the rights to manufacture, distribute and, where desirable, license to third parties an expanded range of DFB-branded fan merchandise across a broad range of product categories, such as headwear, retro fanwear, hard goods, homeware, consumer electronics and stationary.

The expanded partnership was agreed following strong commercial results for the DFB across its retail channels in 2022, including record-breaking demand for DFB merchandise. On November 27, during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Fanatics confirmed its most popular day ever for DFB merchandise across its network, beating its previous daily record by 77%.

Under the terms of the partnership, the DFB leverages Fanatics’ Vertical Commerce model.

The flexibility provided by this platform was integral during the World Cup, where the DFB was able to service a major unexpected spike in demand for personalised merchandise following the success of national team forward Niclas Füllkrug.

The Werder Bremen star sold the most German shirts on the official online DFB-Fanshop throughout November. In the hour following Füllkrug’s dramatic equaliser in the group stage game versus Spain, the German No.9 also sold 90% more shirts than all other 25 players in the German squad combined.

“We are very pleased to extend and expand our successful partnership with Fanatics, and to leverage their global partner network to jointly offer an even wider range of merchandise products to our fans in the DFB Fan Shop and in retail,” said Holger Blask, managing director of marketing, sales and events at the DFB. “Together with Fanatics, we will continuously work to further improve the service for our fans.”

Since opening its Hamburg office in 2018, Fanatics has partnered with a number of prominent sports and retail organisations across the nation, including SportScheck, widening access to licensed sports merchandise.

Matthew Primack, senior vice-president of international business affairs and development at Fanatics, added: “We are thrilled to confirm this renewal of our deep and trusted relationship with the DFB, to double down on our ongoing commitment to both the DFB and our growing presence in Germany more widely.

“Over the coming years, our ambition is to continue to work closely with the DFB to enhance and enlarge their brand at retail and within consumer product segments, to go above and beyond our current remit of operating retail and merchandise channels, to drive ever-greater success for the organisation and to reach German fans everywhere.”