(Bloomberg) -- Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson signed a multiyear partnership with e-commerce giant Fanatics Inc., teaming up for an expected boom in the sports memorabilia market.
Fanatics, founded by billionaire Michael Rubin, will create new Wilson memorabilia and collectibles ahead of Wilson’s 10th season with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The quarterback already had a connection to Rubin, including a partnership that raised $60 million to combat food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.
“To be able to give my fans direct access to what they want is great,” Wilson, 32, said in a phone interview. “I’ve played nine years in the NFL and I have another 13 to go at least, in my head, so for me when I think about that, I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Wilson, an eight-time Pro Bowler, joins a Fanatics roster that includes Tom Brady, Zion Williamson and Los Angeles Angels pitcher-slugger Shohei Ohtani as of last week. The company will sell signed footballs, helmets, jerseys and other products like authentic game-used equipment from the quarterback.
Sales for Fanatics Authentic, the memorabilia and collectibles division, are expected to top $200 million this year, according to the closely held company, which forecasts more than $3 billion in total revenue in 2021.
Demand for sports memorabilia is letting athletes leverage their success on the field in new ways. For Wilson, who’s married to the Grammy-winning singer Ciara, the Fanatics partnership is part of a growing business.
He recently launched a children’s clothing line, 3Brand, based on his uniform number 3. A portion of the revenue -- 3% -- will go to the Wilsons’ Why Not You Foundation.
“Football and business are two things I love, and two things I really understand,” Wilson said. “It’s all about impact and making a difference.”
Wilson also addressed the recent decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to let student-athletes exploit their names, images and likenesses.
The early returns have been eye-popping for teenagers across the country. Hercy Miller, a rising Tennessee State point guard and son of rapper and former NBA player Master P, signed a $2 million deal with technology company Web Apps America. University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has made almost $1 million, according to head coach Nick Saban, despite not yet officially being named starting QB for the Crimson Tide.
Wilson called the move a “great decision” that lets athletes help their families. His sister, Anna Wilson, was part of Stanford University’s championship-winning women’s basketball team in 2021 and was voted Pac-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
“The reality is that for someone like her, who’s brilliant and really talented, to have the opportunity like this is great, too,” he said. “Women who are doing everything they can to be at the highest level of what they do and should have the ability to have sponsorships and make money off the court as well.”
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