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F1 revamps merchandise strategy with Fanatics partnership

The Formula One motor-racing championship has agreed a deal for online sports apparel and merchandise retailer Fanatics to become its exclusive merchandise retail partner at grand prix weekends and online.

The length of the agreement was not disclosed, but it is effective immediately. It is hoped the partnership will accelerate the growth of F1’s consumer products licensing division and create a streamlined, omni-channel retail experience for fans.

Fanatics already has partnerships with the NFL American football league, Major League Baseball, the NBA basketball league, the NHL ice hockey competition, stock-car racing series Nascar and Major League Soccer, as well as football clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.

Through its agreement with F1, Fanatics will offer a wider range of premium products from the series itself and its 10 participating teams, with items specific to each grand prix also set to be produced.

Products will be made available at the majority of the races throughout the season, starting with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix in Catalunya. Additional vending locations will be placed around the circuit, as well as the enclosed superstore location at the on-site fan zone.

Additionally, premium storefronts will be introduced for supporters at the Paddock Club. All Fanatics locations will be integrated into F1’s digital concierge app, F1 Grand Prix. The partnership also includes an extension of F1’s online store partnership with Fanatics.

Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, said: “We have undergone extensive research at each grand prix, which suggests that fans are looking for a more streamlined retail experience. We strongly believe that this partnership will improve the quality of the shopping experience at grands prix: enclosed tents, shorter lines, an expanded and improved merchandise range are all priorities for F1 and for Fanatics.

“The net impact will yield an increase in sales, both for F1 branded products and the teams. Of greater importance, we believe it will drive a lower friction fan experience, and that is our No.1 priority.”

Fanatics International president Steve Davis added: “Formula 1 fans are among the most passionate and tech-savvy spectators in the sports world and we are excited to offer them a new and improved multi-channel retail experience with a significantly expanded assortment of high quality products surrounding grand prix events this season.

“There are few properties in sport with a broader and more global audience, and F1’s fan base aligns perfectly with many priority growth markets for Fanatics as we become an increasingly international brand.”