The fourth quarter is important in any sporting event, but for Fanatics, the Jacksonville, Florida-based sports merchandiser, the fourth quarter holiday season will be winning time in North Las Vegas as they have announced plans to build a distribution center in the Apex Industrial Park.
Fanatics will hire 150 full-time employees to help with more than 300 online and offline stores, including the e-commerce business for all major professional sports leagues and three major media brands — CBS Sports, FOX Sports and NBC Sports.
Fanatics also operates e-commerce business sites for more than 150 collegiate and team properties. It also has an on-site venue and event retail portfolio for popular teams, such as the Texas Longhorns, Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils, so their fans can experience a seamless shopping experience across online, mobile and physical store locations.
“Our decision to expand to Las Vegas was twofold,” says Lonnie Phillips, senior vice president of operations and current supervisor of the new location. “First, we looked at the distribution of our orders, and we have a lot coming from the West, so it made perfect sense to come to Clark County. Second, we love Las Vegas’ location, the local workforce and the wonderful incentive package we received from the state of Nevada.”
The incentives from the state, along with high demand from sports-hungry holiday fans, will allow Fanatics to hire an estimated 500 to 600 seasonal employees on an annual basis. While the marketing push to fill these jobs will not begin until mid-2017, Fanatics has begun planning for initial outreach to fill positions. The positions be in distribution, the fulfillment, maintenance technicians, manufacturing and management divisions and skilled photographers.
“We are looking for management team members who are committed to developing the skills of the employees they lead,” said Vincent Woodward, Fanatics vice president of human resources. “Servant leadership is important to us so we are looking for management team members who understand the importance of building the right culture and making it a priority every day they come to work.”
Loving Las Vegas
Hiring will begin in late March or early April with operations estimated to begin in May. Fanatics has apparel manufacturing contracts will all major professional sports leagues (MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL and the PGA Tour), along with the NCAA, so coming to Las Vegas just as the city is welcoming its first major professional sports franchise has been the perfect starting point to build upon Fanatics’ corporate culture.
“Our successful employees fit our culture, and are passionate about what we do so its very exciting to join the Las Vegas landscape during this time,” Phillips said. “The jobs available will be best fit for those who have passion for people and processes.”
Processes include the well-publicized “365-day hassle-free return.” Fanatics offers customers the ability to return any item in original condition for a full refund for up to 365 days. The return policy does not apply to autographed collectibles, customized or personalized items.
Fanatics offers more than 250,000 individual products from more than 700 teams, so its flat rate shipping policy of $4.99 per order and complimentary shipping for all orders over $50 explains why the location near Interstate 15 was extremely important in the decision-making process.
“The current interstate location is an ideal corridor for regional distribution, but also for the available workforce,” Phillips said. “We did not think about the future Interstate 11, so that did not play a big role in the decision, but it will definitely be a major benefit down the road.”
It is a road that for Fanatics includes the upcoming Final Four in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona, on April 3 and April 5, which may provide the first rush orders for the new North Las Vegas center. The proximity to Los Angeles as the city welcomes back the NFL’s Rams franchise was another variable considered. In addition, the hope of a Las Vegas stadium that could be home to the NFL’s Oakland Raiders gained momentum when Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 1 on Oct. 17. NFL owners must vote for the relocation.
“We are key strategic partners with the NHL so that bodes well (for) us,” Phillips said. “Along with the proximity to Southern California and the interstates, all of these variables will help us broaden and expand these relationships in the future.”
The future of Fanatics
Like the pioneers of yesteryear, Fanatics is looking at the move West as a rebirth for the brand and potential customers.
“There is no doubt that this move West will improve the brand and reduce time in transit for our West Coast customers,” Phillips said.
Fanatics has built its corporate reputation around customer service, but the company is eager to learn what customer service skills their new employees will bring to the company.
“Las Vegas is known for employees who provide excellent customer service,” Woodward said. “Providing excellent customer service is always our organization’s top goal, so we are truly excited about the caliber of employee we will be able to recruit in the Las Vegas area.”