Fanatics signed an exclusive, long-term omnichannel retail and merchandising partnership with the R&A, the governing body for golf outside of the USA and Mexico, across The Open and AIG Women’s Open.  

The long-term deal covers eCommerce, event and physical retail, memorabilia, and licensing rights and will offer consumers the “largest 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 relaunched and is running the official online R&A Shop and has taken over the operation of The Open Shop, the brick-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, with an expected attendance of 250,000, and the AIG Women’s Open at St Andrews. 

The deal also builds on Fanatics’ history in the golf space with the business currently partnered with the United States Golf Association (USGA), and following its announcing 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 collaboration with the PGA Tour. 

Speaking on the deal, Stephen Dowling, president of international at Fanatics, said, “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.

“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, said, “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, said: “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 unrivaled experience when shopping for official Open and AIG Women’s Open merchandise.”  

Fanatics partners with over “900 of the largest sporting organizations, teams and leagues worldwide, including The United States Golf Association, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, The FA, The International Olympic Committee (IOC), England Rugby, WWE, UEFA, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and Formula 1.  

Image courtesy Fanatics