Boulder key to Fanatics’ push for dominance in world of sports apparel

While the companies picked to outfit the world’s athletes are plentiful — Nike, Under Armour, Adidas and more have inked major deals in recent years — there is one business behind e-commerce for all the major professional sports leagues, 200 collegiate teams and the world’s biggest soccer clubs.

And the technology behind all of it comes from Boulder.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fanatics handles online sales for the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, PGA, Manchester United and Real Madrid, among others. Revenue will surpass $2.2 billion this year, driven by the company’s vertical model of manufacturing, controlling the process of getting gear to fans from order to delivery.

One year ago, Fanatics established a new office in Boulder to house its growing technology team. Staff has nearly doubled in that time, and hiring is still ongoing. We marked the anniversary by chatting with Jim Oxenhandler, director of engineering, to find out more:

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

1.) What’s the last year looked like for Fanatics in Boulder?

A lot has happened with the company, as well as our office. Here in Boulder, we’ve experienced massive growth. When we started last year, we had 18 people. We’re at 30 now and we’re in the process of adding more desks so we can start hiring again.

We are running out of space. It’s a good problem to have when you have to hold your hire until you get desks.

2.) What is Boulder’s role in Fanatics’ push for sports apparel dominance?

The main reason for that is our organic growth over the last year combined with the April acquisition of sports group VF Corp. (which includes MLB uniform-maker Majestic). We are working on the supply chain and back-end systems behind that.

In sports commerce, turnaround time is critical. When you have a game-winning event, you need to turn around those products at unprecedented speeds. Typically, creation and distribution in apparel has taken awhile. My team is working to turn…

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