U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team and Sunderland Forward Jozy Altidore, Denver Nuggets Power Forward Kenneth Faried, and San Francisco 49ers Running Back Marcus Lattimore may play different sports, but they all suit up with startup FanTree when it comes to selling unique gear that they help design through flash sales.
FanTree Founder and President TK Stohlman spoke with AllFacebook about the company, with a roster that also includes former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl Safety and ESPN Analyst Darren Woodson as head of partnerships, and advisors including former Nike Vice President of Global Sales David Heath, Foot Locker board member Gil Marmol, and former Massage Envy CEO David Humphrey.
FanTree allows athletes, celebrities, musicians, and entertainers to hold online flash sales of gear including T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, jackets, posters, and memorabilia, with awareness spread via social media, enabling the athletes and celebrities to grow their brands and, if they so choose, to raise funds for their favorite charities.
Facebook and Twitter come in when FanTree clients use the social networks to highlight and recognize their biggest fans via shout-outs on Facebook and Twitter, tickets to games and events, and other special incentives, such as game or concert tickets and backstage or locker-room meet-and-greets.
Stohlman said FanTree’s roster will soon expand beyond Altidore, Faried, and Lattimore, adding that the site expects to have “a presence in every sport shortly,” and that it will dip its toes into the mixed-martial-arts arena later this month.
Part of the appeal of FanTree on the fans’ side is the ability to purchase unique merchandise that the athletes and celebrities using the site help design. Stohlman said:
Athletes, celebrities, musicians, and entertainers already had direct-to-consumer access via social networks, but there wasn’t an ecommerce option that made the most of that opportunity.
We do all of the heavy lifting for all of our partners — product creation, product design, product sourcing, copyrighting, analytics, fulfillment.
You can go to Fanatics or Amazon and buy the traditional jersey and apparel. We work with the athletes and help them design products that they love.
This is not Groupon for athletes. We wanted unique items that were special and really matched the athletes’ or celebrities’ brands.
Stohlman said FanTree takes advantage of Facebook’s targeted advertising offerings, so that, in the case of Altidore, it can serve ads to users of the social network who like the player, or who are fans of the sport of soccer or the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Another advantage of FanTree for its clients is that it can mark milestones or records quickly and get related products ready to ship, with Stohlman adding:
Agents and athletes don’t have the expertise or capability to do this.
Readers: What athletes or celebrities would you like to see become FanTree clients?