Online sports merchandise retailer Fanatics is the latest company to get a cash infusion from SoftBank, a source close to the matter told CNBC.
SoftBank and Fanatics are close to sealing a $1 billion deal, raising Fanatics’ valuation to $4.5 billion. The Wall Street Journal previously reported the news.
The NFL also invested about $95 million and Major League Baseball added $50 million earlier this year, according to the Journal.
Fanatics sells licensed sports apparel on its website, and also operates the web sales for many big sports leagues. Doug Mack, who became CEO in 2014, has emphasized data as the “heartbeat” of the company.
Japanese company SoftBank, meanwhile, has announced ambitions to invest in the “information revolution,” especially companies that need substantial growth funding. SoftBank’s latest slew of investments, many of which fall into the so-called Vision Fund, include chip company Nvidia and cancer treatment start-up Guardant Health.
Online commerce is a highly competitive field as Amazon corners more of the market. Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba — which counts SoftBank as a major investor and strategic partner and Amazon as a rival — has also invested in Fanatics. Fanatics had no comment, and the companies were not immediately available to comment.
— With reporting by CNBC’s Courtney Reagan.