Fanatics adds SoftBank executive, former Airbnb marketing chief to board of directors

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A detailed photo of the Fanatics apparel displayed at NFL Hospitality during the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 26, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.
Mark Brown | Getty Images

Fanatics, the rapidly expanding sports e-commerce company, announced Thursday that it added SoftBank’s Lydia Jett and former Airbnb executive Jonathan Mildenhall to its board of directors.

Fanatics’ board now has 10 members, including Fanatics Chair and Philadelphia 76ers minority owner Michael Rubin, Silver Lake co-Chief Executive Officer Greg Mondre and NBA legend Magic Johnson.

Mildenhall, 54, is a former chief marketing officer at Airbnb and co-founder of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, a consultancy firm. Jett is head of global e-commerce at SoftBank Investment Advisers — the firm that manages Softbank Vision Funds.

SoftBank initially invested $1 billion in Fanatics in 2017. That raised Fanatics’ valuation to $4.5 billion. That same year, the NFL invested roughly $95 million, and MLB added $50 million. Now, Fanatics is estimated to be worth $27 billion.

Fanatics wants to transform into a $100 billion company that offers online sports gambling. The company is expected to eventually pursue an initial public offering, although it doesn’t plan to go public this year, people familiar with the company previously told CNBC.

Fanatics said Jett and Mildenhall would play “vital roles” in helping it scale globally.

Sports merchandise company Fanatics named e-commerce and marketing executives Lydia Jett and Jonathan Mildenhall to its board of directors.
Fanatics Board Memebers: Jonathan Mildenhall, Lydia Jett

“Fanatics is in the midst of incredible transformation and the deep expertise and insight that Lydia and Jonathan both bring to the board will be vital as we unlock a new digital experience for sports fans globally,” Rubin said in a statement. “They are both visionaries in their respective fields that will provide invaluable support and guidance as we continue building a revolutionary sports platform.”

Jett started her career at JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to SoftBank’s website. She graduated from Stanford University’s business school and the London School of Economics. She also represented SoftBank on boards, including South Korean e-commerce company Coupang, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Mildenhall left his position at Airbnb in 2017 and launched TwentyFirstCenturyBrand shortly after in 2018. Fanatics said he serves on the board of companies, including Peloton and GoFundMe.

In a statement, Jett said Florida-based Fanatics is “better positioned than ever” to lead the digital sports consumer products space. In March, the company raised another $1.5 billion, and it anticipates $6 billion in revenue in 2022.

Sophie Tremblay

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