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Tennessee Titans Partner With Fanatics as Teams Digitize the Fan Experience

Titans Partner With Fanatics as Teams Digitize Fan Experience

As sports teams look to the rise of digital platforms to drive engagement and spending, the Tennessee Titans are the latest to announce a long-term strategy for their retail arm’s omnichannel growth.

The NFL team shared Monday (April 1) that it entered a long-term exclusive partnership with digital sports gear platform Fanatics to operate its merchandise sellers both in the physical world and online.

“We are always looking for new ways to take the Titans fan experience to the next level, and access to the most unique and exciting gear is a big part of that,” Titans Chief Revenue Officer Adam Nuse said in a statement. “…This partnership with Fanatics will offer the best retail experience and widest variety of options for many seasons to come.”

The partnership includes Fanatics investing in the team’s on-site shops in the stadium, having a hand in building a new flagship store and launching a new eCommerce platform.

The move comes as online sports merchandise sales grow. Estimates have the online sporting apparel retail industry bringing in more than $10 billion a year. More sports teams have been looking to build eCommerce platforms that can capture this opportunity in the long term. Earlier this year, for instance, Premier League English football team Manchester United announced a partnership with SCAYLE to create a direct-to-consumer (D2C) online shopping platform.

Additionally, consumers are buying more of their retail products online overall. PYMNTS Intelligence’s “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.S. Edition,” created in collaboration with Visa Acceptance Solutions, which drew from a survey of more than 2,400 U.S. consumers, found that more than 1 in 4 shoppers preferred to make purchases via digital channels with no interaction with physical stores. Plus, U.S. consumers rely highly on a broad range of digital features, with 85% using multiple features regularly.

It is not only the merch shop getting the digital treatment; professional sports teams are digitizing more of the fan experience. For instance, throughout the last year, many teams have been launching D2C game streaming platforms.

Plus, the New York Islanders in February launched Isles+, developed in partnership with Verizon and built on HomeTurf’s fan engagement platform. It promised to usher in an era of fan interaction for the team and its supporters, with features including multiple camera angles, instant replays, live chat with fellow spectators, real-time statistics and trivia games.

Similarly, the Calgary Flames and Calgary Wranglers rolled out a new mobile app back in September, “designed to bring unparalleled convenience and engagement” to fans of both professional ice hockey clubs.

Additionally, sports teams are integrating more connected technologies into the in-stadium journey. From biometric authentication to speed up the ticket-checking process to more self-service checkout technologies, teams are increasingly merging the digital and physical.

Many consumers want these kinds of omnichannel experiences. The same edition of the Global Digital Shopping Index report noted that 1 in 5 U.S. consumers fall into the category of digitally assisted in-store shoppers, which are those who turn to digital technologies to improve their on-site retail experiences.

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