- Olympic Shop is now live in several countries
- Deal covers three Olympic Games up to Los Angeles 2028
- Fanatics says it wants to explore other areas like NFTs
Licensed merchandise giant Fanatics is working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to create the first ever permanent ecommerce platform for the Olympic Games.
Fanatics will establish an official Olympic Shop and integrate marketplaces for Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026, and Los Angeles 2028. The company has also obtained the rights to create Olympic-branded merchandise for all three Games, as well as past events.
Traditionally, responsibility for official online stores at the Olympics has been with individual organising committees. Such marketplaces have been established in the lead up to each event and then shut down once the Olympic flame has been extinguished.
This means there has been no consistent approach, limited worldwide reach, no knowledge sharing, and the ability to use customer data as part of a wider engagement strategy is minimal. It has also been suggested that online has been an afterthought when compared to physical retail.
The IOC believes this model is no longer tolerable as it continues its direct-to-consumer strategy with initiatives like the Olympic Channel. By taking matters into its own hands, it has the ability to interact with customers in between Games, generating revenue and gathering data.
“This is an exciting launch for us, as fans from an increasing number of territories will be able to purchase official Olympic merchandising and connect with the magic of the Olympic Games ahead of each edition,” said Timo Lumme, television and marketing services managing director at the IOC.
“We are looking forward to collaborating on this new shop with the organising committees of Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026 and LA28 to engage with a broader fanbase and offer collectibles and goods that convey the values of the Olympic movement, in line with the IOC global licensing strategy.”
Gary Gertzog, president of business affairs at Fanatics, said the IOC had been attracted not just by Fanatics’ technology, but also its experience in designing and manufacturing licensed goods for some of the biggest sports organisations in the world.
“We thought our experience working with top-tier sports around the world, the tech we could deploy and the data they would receive, we thought they would be well suited,” Gertzog told SportsPro.
“We believe by far and away we have the best tech platform in the business. It needs to have great speed [and capacity] so that if something amazing happens on the field and people want to buy something it can handle millions of people wanting to buy a product. Our site is secure, fast and stable, and easy to navigate.
“[Merchandise] is all we’ve done for more than 20 years, working with great sports organisations and [accumulating] knowledge and contacts across sports. We see the Olympics as one of, if not the, premier sporting events in the world. We look at the Olympics as an area that isn’t fulfilling its potential in terms of the products on offer and how they are offered.”
The Olympic Shop is now live in selected markets and will be rolled out across the world by summer 2022, except for Russia and China. The IOC has a separate ecommerce deal with Chinese tech firm Alibaba, which also provides cloud services to the organisation.
Gertzog added that other types of product, such as trading cards and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could be offered in the future.
“We see this as just the beginning. We see this as the start of a broad relationship with the Olympic movement,” he said.