Fanatics has hired longtime media executive Mike Mahan to run its combined collectible division in a newly created role that hints at the company’s long-term vision for trading cards and NFTs.
Mahan—who has spent the last nine years at Dick Clark Productions as president, then CEO, then vice chairman—will be CEO of Fanatics Collectibles, a division that houses three parts of the growing Fanatics sports empire. The umbrella includes Topps, the brand behind Fanatics’ $10.4 billion sports trading card venture; zerocool, the trading card brand Fanatics launched in 2021 to focus on pop culture, music, and entertainment; and Candy Digital, the $1.5 billion NFT platform that Fanatics launched alongside Michael Novogratz and Gary Vaynerchuk (Candy Digital will operate separately).
Still in its early stages, Fanatics Collectibles is on pace to have more than $1 billion in revenue in 2022, with projected profit around $300 million. Mahan will report directly to Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.
“Our collectibles business has seen tremendous growth since launching last year,” Rubin said in a statement. “As a collector and passionate sports fan, Mike’s vision for both the trading cards hobby and emerging digital collectibles properties, driven by exceptional products, will further position Fanatics as a leader in these categories.”
Mahan has spent more than two decades at the intersection of entertainment, celebrity culture, social media and influencers—experience that lends insight into how Fanatics is thinking about the future of both physical and digital collectibles. Fanatics will surely apply Mahan’s knowledge to a booming industry that has historically dedicated little resources to pricey marketing programs.
His direct experience with celebrities to promote shows is also germane to the Fanatics Collectibles vision. Trading cards and NFTs often rely on licensing participation by leagues and teams, but Fanatics is also looking to grow its product directly with the world’s most famous people, whether they are athletes, pop stars, influencers or artists.
Mahan is also an investor in a handful of sports teams, including MLS club LAFC and esports org Team Liquid.
The Fanatics Collectibles division does not include Fanatics Authentic, the company’s autograph and memorabilia arm, which has exclusive deals with dozens of athletes, including Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Aaron Judge. That remains in the core commerce division under CEO Doug Mack.