The Fanatics merchandise tent at NASCAR races is going away for good.
The company is ending its deal with NASCAR to sell merchandise at tracks just four years into a 10-year deal. The deal started with some fanfare in 2015 with a new way of selling stuff at tracks. Instead of team haulers stationed at tracks where fans had to wait in line at various haulers to buy things from different drivers and teams, the tent was designed as a one-stop shop that housed merchandise from every team.
Per the Sports Business Journal, a lack of fans attending NASCAR races was a primary driver of the deal’s early termination.
However, amid sagging attendance that has negatively impacted the original financial projections for the deal, Fanatics apparently tried to restructure the deal recently. When it was unable to do so, the company decided to nix the entire deal, which includes more than a dozen additional contracts with individual tracks.
There was also a significant subset of fans who disliked the tent model and instead preferred to shop at the haulers. While the tent wasn’t perfect, it’s impossible to argue that it wasn’t a legitimate effort to make at-track shopping more efficient. It wasn’t too successful. NASCAR started putting merchandise haulers back at tracks in 2017.
NASCAR president Steve Phelps said in a statement to SBJ that the series was looking at a new at-track merchandising model for 2019.
Fanatics, the largest online sports apparel retailer, will continue to handle NASCAR’s online sales.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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