Fanatics to launch live events business as it seeks to create a sports version of Comic-Con

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Fanatics will launch a new live events business that will look to recreate the Comic-Con experience for sports collectibles, the company said Thursday.

The new venture, called Fanatics Events, will be a partnership with events and talent management giant IMG, which is part of Endeavor

Fanatics, which had been known primarily as an e-commerce platform, has sought to diversify its business as it moves toward an initial public offering. Last month, it held a second investor day in nearly a year with major firms such as Goldman SachsBarclays

The company has agreed to buy PointsBet’s U.S. operations as it expands into sports betting. Initially, Fanatics offered $150 million, but it later raised its bid to $225 million, surpassing an offer of $195 million made by competitor DraftKings

Fanatics Events plans to organize global events through partnerships and acquisitions. Fanatics said it will first prioritize the collectibles sector and explore opportunities to expand and innovate beyond that.

Fanatics said Fanatics Events aims to start holding events next year.

“The launch of our new Fanatics Events business provides an opportunity to celebrate all aspects of fandom — including sports, collectibles, memorabilia, fashion, music and entertainment — under one physical roof in a way that has never been done before,” said Lance Fensterman, CEO of Fanatics Events.

“These new touchpoints will reinforce our commitment to enhancing the overall experience for fans and collectors globally,” he added.

Fensterman recently left ReedPop, where he oversaw pop culture conventions over the years, including the massive annual New York Comic Con.

“Fanatics Events will be super-charged by the full power of Endeavor’s flywheel, global network, and events expertise to deliver once-in-a-lifetime moments that fans will remember forever,” said Paul Caine, president of On Location and IMG Events.

-CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this report.

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