Fanatics invited a mix of WNBA and MLB players to participate in their week-long business immersion program. Six WNBA players were invited including: Marie Ferdinand-Harris (retired), Essence Carson (free agent), Lexi Brown (Los Angeles Sparks), Rebekah Gardner (Chicago Sky), Diamond DeShields (Dallas Wings) and Isabelle Harrison (Sky).
“Athletes are going to be non-athletes way longer than they actually are athletes,” said Orlando Ashford, chief people officer at Fanatics. “What do they do with that second or third chapter of their life? We want to help create that chapter. It’s great for the athlete, but it’s also great for our company. We see some of these people becoming employees, becoming executives or being a part of the sports ecosystem in other roles. As they do those roles and jobs, they’ll also be friends of Fanatics.”
Players who participated also had positive things to say about the experience. “To have this opportunity, especially as a woman and Black athlete, I just feel like it’s going to make the difference for my next step as a professional,” Harrison said.
I use to get excited about meeting famous athletes and musicians, celebrities etc.
But i’m at a point in my life, where i’m fangirling over CEOS and business men and women. 😂😂😂
I never thought i’d say that 🙇🏽♀️
Thank you so much @Fanatics 🙏🏽
— Isabelle Harrison (@OMG_itsizzyb) November 11, 2023
Brown shared about the experience on social media: “Just had the most amazing week with Fanatics. I was able to learn so much from some of the most impressive and intelligent people I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful for this life!!!!”
The program initially launched six years ago and only included NFL players, but now the company has expanded to include other sports. In the future, Fanatics is looking to expand the program and “include retired players and offer a longer, six-month co-op-like experience.”