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Fanatics hires former Opendoor exec to run sports merchandise business

Fanatics logo is seen on the dugout wall before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on July 3, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Justin Berl | Getty Images

Fanatics has hired a new chief executive for its largest business unit, the latest executive move for the sports platform as it continues to build towards a potential IPO.

Andrew Low Ah Kee, who most recently was the president of Opendoor and was also previously the COO of GoDaddy, will serve as the CEO of Fanatics Commerce, which includes the company’s merchandise business covering licensed fan gear, jerseys, and other apparel and products, e-commerce and stadium and event retail.

Fanatics has seen that area of its business grow to more than $5 billion in annual sales, a key driver of its increasing overall revenue and valuation. The company is projecting $8 billion in revenue this year and raised $700 million last December at a valuation of $31 billion.

Michael Rubin, who serves as the chairman and CEO of the larger Fanatics enterprise, restructured the business in 2021 to focus on three business lines – commerce, to now be overseen by Low Ah Kee; betting and gaming, led by former FanDuel CEO Matt King who was hired in 2021; and collectibles, led by former Dick Clark Productions CEO Mike Mahan, hired in 2022. The company has also made recent hires to oversee the Mitchell & Ness brand as well as its livestreaming business, areas where it sees future growth.

“As we focus on further building our Commerce business and doubling down on creating the best overall fan experience, we were looking for a proven executive who is obsessed with creating elite customer experiences, utilizing innovation for growth, scaling companies globally, producing strong financial results, building renowned brands and establishing strong teams and internal culture,” Rubin said in a statement.

The slew of recent executive appointments moves Fanatics closer to Rubin’s goal of an eventual IPO as its business continues to expand beyond sports merchandise. The company has most recently had its eyes on sports betting, scooping up PointsBet’s U.S. assets for about $150 million in May.

In June, the company held its second investor day in nearly a year, where Rubin and other executives met with more than 100 existing and prospective institutional investors.

Last November, Rubin gathered sell-side analysts for a meet-and-greet and to talk about his growth plans for the company.

In April, the company announced it was hiring Deborah Crawford from Meta to lead investor relations, a new position at the company.

Low Ah Kee is replacing Doug Mack, who has served as Fanatics Commerce CEO since 2014 and announced last month that he would be retiring at the end of 2023. Fanatics said Mack will work with Low Ah Kee for the remainder of the year and then will shift into a special advisory role for Rubin and the company. Opendoor announced last December that Low Ah Kee was leaving the company.

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