First came the popularity packs and boxes, and then the phenomenon that people will actually sit in front of their computer or on their phone to watch someone else open a box of cards.
This new trend eventually morphed into people buying into those so-called live “breaks,” or, for the unindoctrinated, a “share” of the box being opened either by purchasing a team or player (and then having the breaker ship any of the cards you “purchased” to you after the fact).
I mean, a rising tide lifts all ships—it’s not just that card collecting is back in a big way, but their re-arrival means that all of these other things like new places to buy cards, better stand-up displays, and with this, the breaker business all comes with it.
What's this going to mean for @Whatnot and others out there? https://t.co/y9oH957q8I— Top Shelf Breaks (@TopShelfBreaks) February 2, 2023
So, while we have had Loupe and Whatnot for a while now, Fanatics has just announced plans to launch their own streaming and breaking platform, Fanatics Live.
What is Fanatics Live?
Fanatics Live will be a livestreaming shopping platform centered on trading cards and collectibles. It will operate as a separate business division and will be led by the previous head of content and partnerships at Snap, Nick Bell. A standalone app and website are expected later in 2023.
In terms of how Fanatics Live will set out to be different from existing livestreaming platforms like Loupe and Whatnot still remains to be seen. I myself personally have browsed on both, but have never purchased, and can’t really tell you what I enjoy or dislike about either or.
One could assume breaking will be a major focus, as the popularity of the hobby activity has grown leaps and bounds, and is already present across a number of mediums, with breakers selling “spots” on Twitter, eBay, and other platforms (and platforms that were not built at all with breaking in mind).
Livestream shopping has been growing in popularity in the U.S., aided by the pandemic-fueled rise in online commerce as well as brands and retailers looking to connect with shoppers at home on their phones and computers. Nordstrom, Petco, and Macy’s-owned Bloomingdale’s are just some of the retailers that have experimented with livestreamed sales.CNBC “Fanatics to start livestreamed shopping of trading cards, collectibles” 2/2/23
In terms of hobby response, it’s certainly interesting to look through the many different tweets and comments made in response, with some thinking about how this will impact existing, similar platforms. Another interesting piece is how many for years have considered breaking to be gambling, and absent of regulation, so what does this mean in that regard?
Others are remembering all the way back to QVC, and Fanatics becoming a “new age” version.
Fanatics is on its way to becoming a media company. Expect them to become new age QVC, Home Shopping with hot market sports items and collectibles. https://t.co/kEJWvMisnj— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 2, 2023
As the story develops, I’ll be sure to add more—that’s it for now!