Breaking: Fanatics Acquires PWCC, Further Consolidating Its Position in Sports Collectibles

Breaking: Fanatics Acquires PWCC, Further Consolidating Its Position in Sports Collectibles article feature image

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Fanatics. Pictured: A Fanatics logo.

Fanatics — fresh off buying PointsBet for its sports betting business — has made yet another acquisition. This time, it’s to consolidate its position in the collectibles space.

The company — which added Topps to its portfolio 17 months ago — announced Monday it had purchased PWCC for an undisclosed sum.

It's another coup for Fanatics.

PWCC has been responsible for myriad innovations in the online auction marketplace, including allowing buyers to vault their items, which saves them sales tax and space. Its high quality photos and videos for auctions are also unmatched.

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The deal will allow Fanatics to immediately gain traction in the online auction space, which has been dominated recently by Heritage Auctions and Goldin — which has been acquired by Collectors, the parent company of PSA.

PWCC ran its sports card auction business through eBay through the summer of 2021 before the two got into a spat. eBay said some of PWCC’s execs were shill bidding. PWCC execs said eBay was disproportionately worried about its growing business outside the platform. At the time, sources said, PWCC's business on eBay was approaching $250 million a year.

The vault was based in Oregon, which is one of five states without statewide sales tax. While the vault concept may have been PWCC’s star for a short while, it may have also precipitated its downfall.

At the height of the card craze, vault members were allowed to take out loans against their vaulted cards, using those cards as collateral.

That helped light the card market on fire as some of those people then took their loan money to buy more.

But when the market plummeted, there were enough of those people who just said, "I'll keep my money, you keep my cards."

Sources say that while PWCC was left with some high-priced cards when collectors defaulted, there's not exactly a glut that Fanatics will be left with.

There will be some, but no one in the market believes Fanatics will just auction them off as fast as they can, for fear of over-saturating the high-end market.

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