The sports gear retailer has disclosed its largest round was led by the NFL and included the MLB, NHL and Paris Saint-Germain, at a $27bn valuation.

Sporting association the National Football League (NFL) has invested $320m to lead a $1.5bn funding round for US-based online sports memorabilia retailer Fanatics at a valuation of $27bn, CNBC reported yesterday. NFL players’ union The NFL Players Association also took part, as did sporting leagues Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Hockey League (NHL), association football team Paris Saint-Germain, Qatar Investment Authority and private investor Joseph Tsai. The round had originally been disclosed last month, with media reports identifying investment and financial services group Fidelity, MSD Capital and funds managed by BlackRock as participants. Fanatics sells official licensed merchandise across multiple sports and leagues and has been expanding into other areas such as collectable cards, gaming and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It last raised funds in August 2021 when it received $325m from internet and telecommunications group SoftBank, Silver Lake and Jay Z at a valuation of $18bn. MLB and Fidelity had joined Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman, Silver Lake and Thrive Capital in a $320m funding round five months earlier. Fidelity co-led Fanatics’ $350m series E with Thrive Capital in August 2020, investing with Franklin Templeton and Neuberger Berman at a $6.2bn valuation. SoftBank’s Vision Fund led a $1bn round for the company in 2017 that included NFL and MLB, reportedly valuing it at $4.5bn. It had already raised $170m in a round led by e-commerce firm Alibaba in 2014 with backing from Temasek following $225m in debt and equity financing two years earlier.

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Fernando Moncada Rivera

Fernando Moncada Rivera is a reporter at Global Corporate Venturing and also host of the CVC Unplugged podcast.