Our long relationship with Fanatics (previously Kitbag) goes back 10 years, with our existing contract running out in May 2019.
The original contracts were negotiated at a very different time for the club. Whilst we had relative stability on the pitch, financially we were in difficult times with our retailing being loss making. However given the cautious nature of the time the resulting arrangement often disappointed with very limited opportunities to buy Everton merchandise, very poor and inconsistent stock levels and almost no international offerings.
As a result, the arrangement whilst it improved in recent years was certainly unsatisfactory for many fans wishing to buy Everton merchandise outside the City of Liverpool.
Fanatics is however a large and successful retailing and distribution business with clients including the NFL, NBA, The Ryder Cup, England Rugby and several top football clubs in the Premier League and across Europe such as Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.
As ever with outsourcing it is the nature of the contract, and the expectations set that determine the outcome. The noises from within the club are that this arrangement will see significant improvements, a wider range of retail opportunities and much enhanced international capabilities.
As part of the contract, Fanatics will continue operating Everton’s retail outlets: Everton One at Goodison Park, Everton Two in the city centre and the Club’s online store at evertondirect.com.
The partnership also includes commitments towards extensive work on planning for Everton’s move to Bramley-Moore Dock, ensuring the creation of a world-class retail experience to fit a world-class stadium.
As part of the arrangement, Everton will make use of Fanatics’ “vertical manufacturing model” which combines its retail technology platform with an agile supply chain and on-demand manufacturing to allow for the broadest assortment of merchandise that is responsive to the demands of supporters.
This means fans will see a range of readily available merchandise produced on-demand by Fanatics, further expanding Everton’s global retail operations. This includes the opportunity for “micro-moment” gear which allows a more dynamic approach to product creation.
Sasha Ryazantsev, Chief Finance and Commercial Officer at Everton Football Club, said: “Fanatics is the global leader in sports merchandise and we’re delighted to expand our partnership with them.
“The deal also supports our longer-term plans for our retail operation, including extensive work on planning for the move to Bramley-Moore Dock.
“Thanks to this agreement, Fanatics will continue to deliver and grow Everton’s global retail operation regionally, nationally and internationally.
“Our fans can look forward to an even wider range of Club merchandise, no matter where they are in the world.”
Currently there is nothing in the public domain to indicate the financial value or term of this arrangement, but it is believed to be an enhancement on the previous contract.
This deal should have no impact on the club’s future decisions over kit manufacturing, currently with Umbro until May 2019