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Fan Outfitters’ New Stores Are A Game-Changer For Sports Fans



As a ’90s kid, nothing can replace the thrill of walking into sports apparel stores and carefully surveying all of the merchandise. I didn’t know it at the time, but the experiences probably helped shape my career path.

Unfortunately, the same malls that once served as a connection for fans in the pre-internet days have dwindled over the years. However, one company is bucking the trend of online shopping and offering a fresh experience for sports fans everywhere.

Fan Outfitters, a new dynamic business unit of Lids Sports Group, is continuing its national expansion, bringing the ultimate destination for sports enthusiasts to support their favorite local teams to communities nationwide. Fan Outfitters is the one-stop shop for both the ultimate and everyday sports fans, offering an unparalleled selection of local sports teams’ products.

Stores will also be the first destination to celebrate your favorite teams’ successes, offering a comprehensive range of championship products after major sporting milestones and events like the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, MLS Cup, and NCAA Championships.

With a commitment to localization, Fan Outfitters seeks to service the local fans with their favorite professional, minor league, collegiate, and, in some cases, high school teams. The stores aim to develop new fans through captivating retail experiences, providing a unique space for engagement between teams and their supporters.

As part of the exciting announcement, Sean McCabe, SVP, Corporate Development & Strategy at Fan Outfitters, spoke with FanNation Kicks about what to expect from the expansion.

Fan Outfitters will offer unique experiences for fans.

What went into the strategy of expanding with more brick-and-mortar stores?

“It’s fairly simple; we thought it was underserved. When you look at the licensed sports market, you can go to a lot of different places to get a basic core assortment. A hat, a few shirts, and just semi-basic things.

When you really look out there, there are no fan shops dedicated to bringing a real premium and deep assortment of the best brands and products. Our Lids stores are great for this, but Fan Outfitters is able to get a lot deeper into the local product, whereas Lids is serving local and national product fanbase.

It’s our view that brick-and-mortar provides an experience that e-comm and big-box might not be able to provide. Our customers and fans want a place to come interact, discuss their favorite teams, and engage with somebody during those big moments. We think our locations provide that.”

Fan Outfitters has expanded with over 10+ stores across the country; what kind of feedback have you received?

“An overwhelming wow factor. Simply at the breath of product. The concept is new, the brands being refreshed and new, and when people find us, they instantly become recurring customers. It’s an instant wow factor as soon as you walk in. A customer comes in and finds us, is wowed, and then a word-of-mouth network begins.”

Inside of a Fan Outfitters store.

Fan Outfitters wants to bridge team and fan engagement.

Your locations are designed to be community hubs, fostering engagement between teams and their devoted fanbases. Where did that idea come from?

“I think we’re just scratching the surface of this concept of being a bridge from team to fan engagement. The teams and leagues are always looking for two things: to engage with existing fans beyond the in-stadium experience and to expand the fanbase.

We believe having this physical space outside of the stadium allows them to go to the fan rather than having the fan come to them. These stores are showcasing that. We believe we are doing that in a best-in-class way, and it is a really great opportunity for teams to come along on this journey with us and reach new fans. Player appearances, signings, jersey launches, playoff parties, all of that is on the table here.”

What else can you tell us about the stores?

“This concept is built on product, people, and engagement. We think we have the best product, we have the best people for fan engagement, and we’re always looking for new ways to engage the community in special ways.

One of the things we are evaluating is potentially going into the high school space, it’s going to be that local. We think there is a huge untapped market with high school fandom that we can serve in a big, big way. Even beyond that, into pop culture. We are always going to be embedded in sports, but if something exciting is going on in the community, we’re going to explore it.”

Rankings: The 10 best sneakers of the 2023-24 NBA regular season.

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