Fanatics has raised $325 million in a new round of funding that gave it a valuation of $18 billion. The previous round, which took place in March, brought in $350 million and raised the American company’s valuation to $12.8 billion. Fanatics had enjoyed a 20 percent rise in annual revenues for 2020. According to the Wall Street Journal, Fanatics is looking to clear $3.4 billion in revenues this year, up from $2.6 billion in 2020.

Fanatics’ founder and executive chairman, Michael Rubin, quashed rumors of an imminent IPO in March, and the company’s plans have indeed turned out to be different. Looking past its core business in licensed sports apparel and memorabilia, which currently represent about 80 percent of its revenues, Fanatics has begun transforming itself into a digital sports platform for such services as gambling, gaming, ticketing and media. As he told the Wall Street Journal, “we think we have a structural advantage to building any digital sports business, and online sports betting is no different.”

On June 1, for instance, Fanatics launched Candy Digital, a company specialized in nonfungible digital tokens (NFTs), with backing from Galaxy Digital (led by Michael Novogratz) and VaynerNFT (led by Gary Vaynerchuk). That same day Candy announced a long-term deal to handle NFTs for Major League Baseball.

Among the new investors for this latest round of funding were the rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Carter’s entertainment company, Roc Nation LLC. Among the returning investors were Major League Baseball, SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund and the private equity company Silver Lake.

Rubin will return to the position of CEO of the expanded company. Doug Mack is retaining his title as e-commerce CEO but will also become vice chairman, supervising synergies between businesses. Glenn Schiffman, who recently became Fanatics’ chief financial officer, will be heading up the expansion into gaming and ticketing. Tucker Kain, former president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, recently became chief strategy and growth officer of the group. Matt King, former CEO of FanDuel, will be taking charge of sports gambling and gaming.

On the other hand, the idea of an IPO is still in the cards, without a definite timeline. Rubin recently stated on CNBC that Fanatics is “definitely going to be a public company.” He said the group plans to leverage its “best database in all of sports” for its new ventures, boasting 83 million users and projecting 700 million visits to its website in the course of this year. It has already made nine acquisitions in the last decade, and it has been expanding internationally, notably in China.