Jay-Z and Fanatics Inc. have joined investors including Lil Baby, Maverick Carter, and Meek Mill to buy the throwback sports apparel designer Mitchell & Ness for $250 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin was especially excited to purchase the Philadelphia-based brand, which joins his collection of local businesses including part of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
“Growing up as a kid in Philadelphia we looked at Mitchell & Ness as a badge of pride, and I truly believe this legendary brand has no limit,” he said. Fanatics will own 75% of Mitchell & Ness, while the investment group, which also includes the family of TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, will own the rest. Mitchell & Ness is best known for designing and retailing the throwback jerseys that were so popular during the early 2000s and have since made a resurgence. Most recently, the brand collaborated with J. Cole’s Dreamer imprint to produce a series of custom NBA throwbacks bearing the Dreamer logo in place of the original teams’ logos. Ironically, Jay-Z now co-owns the creator of the jerseys he once famously threw under the bus on “What More Can I Say” in 2004.
Combined with Fanatics’ minority stake in the headwear retailer Lids acquired in 2018, Jay, Meek, and Rubin are living a millennial hip-hop fan’s sartorial dream come true. Fanatics has also been reportedly expanding outside of sportswear, acquiring Topps trading card company with the intent of turning it into a digital platform with internet gambling.