E-retailer Fanatics will operate the National Basketball Association's (NBA) New York City flagship. The store will occupy 25,000 sq. ft. on Fifth Avenue in time for the holiday season.
Fanatics, which sells licensed sports items, operates FansEdge, Fanatics Authentic websites and the NBA's e-commerce site.
For the past four years, Adidas ran the NBA's temporary store on 48th Street and Fifth Avenue, Women's Wear Daily reported. The change to Fanatics will connect both the NBA's online and offline space.
"By having Fanatics run the new store, the customer experience both online and in-store will be 'seamless,'" Chris Brennan, NBA's senior VP of global retail development, told Women's Wear Daily. "You can walk into our Fifth Avenue store and if they don't have what you want, the sales associates have a handheld device that connects with NBAStore.com. So we're going to be connected from an inventory and experiential standpoint."
The last permanent flagship on Fifth Avenue closed four years ago and the NBA has been searching for the right location ever since.
The store will display a digital ticker showing basketball game highlights and social media posts. Television screens will also broadcast live games and other retailed content. Interactive product displays will help consumers locate team and player products. Plus, the store will host an area for games, a 3,000 sq. ft. event space and a customization area.
To complete the omnichannel experience, a concierge will help with private shopping and offer purchases to be shipped to a customer's home or local hotel.
This is the first brick-and-mortar store in a street location for Fanatics, an online shop owned by Kynetic, the parent company founded by Michael Rubin that also owns Rue La La and ShopRunner. Other locations include 15 in-venue partnerships at colleges and special events. For example, Fanatics recently made a deal with Nascar to operate stores at each of its tracks. And last fall, JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) partnered with Fanatics to launch the Sports Fan Shop on its website.
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