Activision Blizzard, Fanatics end esports relationship

Activision Blizzard and Fanatics have agreed to end the esports portion of their retail partnership, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.

Fanatics made its first foray into esports with a 2018 deal with Activision Blizzard for omnichannel retail and fan gear manufacturing rights. The following year, Fanatics struck a deal with the game developer to operate the Gear Stores e-commerce merchandising platform for game titles including Overwatch, Call of Duty, Hearthstone, StarCraft and World of Warcraft.

Like most aspects of the esports landscape, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted retail sales. Fanatics also reportedly had to adapt to quick turnarounds requirements from vendors for limited-edition merchandise lines.

The two-time defending Overwatch League champion San Francisco Shock announced a new partnership with Meta Threats with a tweet on Sunday that read, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

While the esports portion of the relationship between Activision Blizzard and Fanatics is ending, the SBJ reported Wednesday that a broader business relationship between the two companies will remain. According to the report, teams are now free to launch their own individual stores.

–Field Level Media

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