Fanatics hires former Dick Clark Productions CEO to lead its collectibles business

Dick Clark Productions CEO Mike Mahan (R) and guest attend the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeff Kravitz | Filmmagic, Inc | Getty Images

Sports platform Fanatics said Thursday that it has tapped former Dick Clark Productions CEO Mike Mahan to lead its trading cards and digital collectibles business.

Fanatics Collectibles, which launched in 2021, includes its NFT arm Candy Digital, sports trading card brand Topps, and zerocool — a trading cards brand solely focused on pop culture, art and entertainment.

Mahan stepped down from his role at Dick Clark Productions, known for major television events like the Golden Globe Awards and the Billboard Music Awards, in 2020. Starting his career as an investment banker for Bear Stearns, he most recently struck a deal with male grooming company Manscaped to take it public in a $1 billion SPAC deal — yet to be completed — through his blank check company Bright Lights Acquisition Corp.

“Our collectibles business has seen tremendous growth since launching last year, and we couldn’t be more confident in bringing Mike on board to shape the bright future of this division and its alignment within our larger Fanatics digital sports platform,” Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said in a statement.

Mahan will report directly to Rubin.

“As a collector and passionate sports fan, Mike’s vision for both the trading cards hobby and emerging digital collectibles properties, driven by exceptional products, will further position Fanatics as a leader in these categories, creating incredible opportunities for fans, collectors, hobby shops, retailers and our partners.”

Fanatics is the majority owner of Candy Digital, and Mike Novogratz, founder of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, also owns a stake. The company’s board members include Novogratz, Rubin, and investor Gary Vaynerchuk. Investors include SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, Insight Partners and Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

Though it will remain as its own entity, Candy Digital CEO Scott Lawin will report to Mahan within the Fanatics Collectibles reorganization.

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“I could not think of a more perfect next step in my career than to lead the incredibly talented teams within Fanatics Collectibles, where I’ll have the opportunity to combine my entrepreneurial passions that lie within sports, marketing, and content creation, with my love for trading cards and collectibles at large,” Mahan said in a statement.

“The worlds of trading cards and digital collectibles have been forever reshaped over the past several years, and these new assets and the connections they create have the ability to bring fans and collectors closer than ever before to the players, teams and entertainers they love.”

Last week, Fanatics announced that Topps is launching a line of trading cards featuring college athletes this fall, a deal that the company said will cut some players in on the profits and pair them up with school logos on cards for the first time.

Fanatics most recently raised a $1.5 billion funding round in March that values the sports platform company at $27 billion. The company ranked No. 21 on this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

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(With inputs from CNBC)