Digital sports platform Fanatics has announced the appointment of preeminent fintech, e-commerce, and marketing executives Lydia Jett and Jonathan Mildenhall to its board of directors.
Jett, Managing Partner and Head of Global eCommerce and US Consumer Internet Sector Investments at SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA), and Mildenhall, co-founder and Executive Chairman of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand and former CMO of Airbnb, bring decades of experience advising and building some of the world’s most influential tech companies and consumer brands.
Both well-admired leaders will play vital roles in uncovering and amplifying opportunities for Fanatics to continue scaling its businesses worldwide, which currently include licensed merchandise and e-commerce, trading cards and collectibles, digital collectibles and NFT’s, and online sports betting and iGaming.
“Fanatics is in the midst of incredible transformation and the deep expertise and insight that Lydia and Jonathan both bring to the board will be vital as we unlock a new digital experience for sports fans globally. They are both visionaries in their respective fields that will provide invaluable support and guidance as we continue building a revolutionary sports platform,” Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said.
Lydia, the first female to hold the title of Managing Partner within SoftBank’s Vision Fund, has nearly twenty years of experience investing in and serving on the boards of market leading technology businesses. Since SoftBank’s initial backing of Fanatics in 2017 – when the firm led a more than $1 billion investment round – she has been a driving force behind the company’s innovation across the licensed sports industry and recent expansion beyond merchandise.
“Over my past five years with the Fanatics management team, I have seen an extraordinary focus, agility and creativity targeted towards fundamentally remaking an industry to better serve its ultimate customers: leagues, athletes and fans. As we enter the next half decade together, Fanatics is better positioned than ever to be a driving force behind improving a global sports fan’s experience across the digital and physical world,” Jett said.
Jonathan, a globally respected marketing and advertising professional, co-founded the influential brand building and marketing consultancy firm, TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, and serves as Executive Chairman. Mildenhall also previously served as CMO of Airbnb from 2014 to 2018, a time in which the company’s valuation increased from $1 billion to more than $31 billion. Mildenhall’s expertise is defining company purpose and values, brand strategy and digital transformation, assets that will be invaluable to Fanatics as the company continues to build its brand globally and unlock opportunities to engage with sports fans across current and emerging verticals.
“Over the last six months I have gotten to know Michael, his executive team, and the Fanatics business in a deep and substantial way. The deeper my understanding of the incredible opportunity ahead the more irresistible the idea of joining the board became. Fanatics will become a culturally significant global brand that will define this and further generations to come,” Mildenhall said.
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