More than a wrestling league, the WWE is positioned as a media and entertainment entity centered around the sport. Its services and products include television programming, live events, and publishing platforms. Streaming and TV partnerships include NBC Universal, FOX Sports, BT Sport, Sony India, and Rogers.
Fanatics is best known for its official sports licenses for apparel with most of the major U.S. sports and beyond and its major e-commerce outlet. Last year the company upended the collectibles industry by landing trading card deals with the player unions of the NFL, NBA and MLB and the league rights for the NBA and MLB.
Topps had owned the MLB rights for 70 years, and it ended up abandoning a SPAC merger. Earlier this year, Fanatics acquired Topps, which previously handled the trading cards for the WWE, and will continue to do so as part of Fanatics Collectibles.
Three separate Fanatics divisions will be working with WWE: Fanatics Commerce for licensed apparel, Fanatics Collectibles and its Topps brand for trading cards, and Candy Digital, the NFT startup majority-owned by Fanatics. Candy was co-founded with Galaxy Digital and Gary Vaynerchuk and raised a $100 million Series A last year at a $1.5 billion valuation.
Candy will be involved with the development of digital trading cards as well as with the design and commercialization of other NFTs, such as iconic moments in WWE’s history and current fights. The company already holds the rights for MLB NFTs and a group of major NASCAR racing teams.
Meanwhile, this is not WWE’s first go at NFTs. The organization partnered with Fox blockchain division for digital collectibles in October of last year.