Digital sports firm Fanatics has hired former Dick Clark Productions chief Mike Mahan in the newly created role of CEO of its trading cards and collectibles business.
The collectibles division includes brands like Topps, Candy Digital and zerocool. Fanatics acquired Topps from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s investment firm Tornante Company last January in a deal worth a reported $500 million. The transaction followed the news that Topps lost its Major League Baseball trading card deal after more than 70 years. (MLB rights are now back under the Fanatics roof on an exclusive basis.)
Fanatics’ card and collectibles unit is projecting annual revenue north of $1 billion, with expectations for growth once new rights deals take effect with the NBA, NFL, WWE and other prominent partners. With “name, image and likeness” rules now in play for college athletes, Fanatics made news recently by announcing a line of college sports trading cards.
Mahan, a former investment banker at Bear Stearns and executive at private equity firm CDP Capital Entertainment, has accrued experience in digital media, content creation, influencer marketing, entertainment and finance. He has been an investor in several media, sports, gaming and consumer companies, including the Los Angeles Football Club, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Axiomatic (Team Liquid), Aviation Gin and Next VR.
Mahan will report to Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.
“Our collectibles business has seen tremendous growth since launching last year, and we couldn’t be more confident in bringing Mike on board to shape the bright future of this division and its alignment within our larger Fanatics digital sports platform,” Rubin said. “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, creating incredible opportunities for fans, collectors, hobby shops, retailers and our partners.”
Mahan will oversee the global, exclusive rights and future rights within Fanatics Collectibles, spanning players associations, sports leagues, professional and college teams, as well as individual athletes, brands and entertainment properties. He will explore opportunities in coordination with other divisions of the company, Fanatics said.
“I could not think of a more perfect next step in my career than to lead the incredibly talented teams within Fanatics Collectibles, where I’ll have the opportunity to combine my entrepreneurial passions that lie within sports, marketing, and content creation, with my love for trading cards and collectibles at large,” Mahan said. “The worlds of trading cards and digital collectibles have been forever reshaped over the past several years, and these new assets and the connections they create have the ability to bring fans and collectors closer than ever before to the players, teams and entertainers they love.”