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Fanatics tees off with The R&A

The R&A – the governing body for golf outside of the US and Mexico – and Fanatics have confirmed an exclusive, long-term omnichannel retail and merchandising partnership to revolutionise the fan experience for millions of golf fans worldwide across The Open and AIG Women’s Open.

The long-term deal – which covers e-commerce, event and physical retail, as well as memorabilia and licensing rights – will offer fans the widest assortment of Open and AIG Women’s Open merchandise ever assembled including headwear, apparel, lifestyle wear and limited edition collections.

In addition, Fanatics also has the rights to manufacture, market and sell official Open supporter apparel and accessories.

Under the terms of the partnership, Fanatics has relaunched and will run the official online R&A Shop, which is now live, as well as take over the operation of The Open Shop, the bricks and mortar retail store in St Andrews.

In addition, Fanatics will also oversee event retail at The Open each year including the upcoming 152nd Open at Royal Troon where 250,000 fans are expected to attend, plus AIG Women’s Open at St Andrews.

“The Open is one of the most prestigious championships in all of sport, reaching fans in more than 190 countries around the world, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to serve fans both attending in person, and showing their support from across the globe,” commented Stephen Dowling, president of international at Fanatics. “Golf is rapidly approaching a new era, becoming ever more inclusive and accessible to new fans of the sport. We welcome this opportunity to create fresh, exciting products for fans both current and new, including brand collaborations and fashion-focused, lifestyle and heritage product lines. Golf fans around the world can be excited about what will be available to them in the coming years.”

Neil Armit, chief commercial officer at The R&A, continued: “Fanatics has a renowned reputation and expertise in e-commerce and marketing and so they were the natural choice for a new partnership in which we are aiming to elevate our retail and merchandise offering for The Open and AIG Women’s Open to fans worldwide, including the expansion to six languages and five currencies. We look forward to working with Fanatics in the years to come to bolster fan engagement and usher in a new era for the promotion of our professional championships on a global scale.”

Chris Smith, senior director of business development, strategy and planning at Fanatics, added: “We are thrilled to have partnered with the team at The R&A, and to have the opportunity to serve fans at The Open and AIG Women’s Open. With our significant experience running event retail for some of the biggest sport events in the world, and our leading-edge technology for the online store, which is used by more than 900 sport partners worldwide, fans of golf across the world will have an unrivalled experience when shopping for official Open and AIG Women’s Open merchandise.”

The deal further builds on Fanatics’ long and established history in the world of golf, with the business currently partnered with the United States Golf Association (USGA), and having also announced a long-term partnership with TGL presented by SOFi, the new tech-forward team golf league developed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s TMRW Sports in partnership with the PGA Tour.

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