Steiner Sports Memorabilia Inc., which grew from a one-man startup in 1987 to become a powerhouse in the sports collectibles field, has filed a plant closing notice with the New York State Department of Labor. Its closing date is Oct. 29 and all 60 of its employees will be affected. Steiner is headquartered at 145 Huguenot St. in New Rochelle and has additional locations in Brooklyn, Garden City and Manhattan.
The closing notice coincides with reports that many of Steiner Sports’ assets have been acquired by Fanatics Inc., a global sports merchandise operator. The reports say that Steiner Sports employees were notified about the sale to Fanatics during the weekend of June 1. Fanatics is based in Jacksonville, Florida, and sells sports merchandise directly to fans online as well as having arrangements with numerous colleges and professional sports teams. It also has locations in San Mateo, California, and Manchester, England.
Fanatics was founded in 2011 by billionaire Michael Rubin who owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. CNBC placed a valuation of $4.5 billion on the company based on 2018 sales of just over $2 billion.
Brandon Steiner was able to build his company as a result of numerous personal contacts he had made in the professional and college sports arenas. The Scarsdale resident has been well-known in Westchester as a supporter and board member of Family Services of Westchester, board member of the White Plains Hospital and contributor of sports memorabilia items to numerous charities for use in fundraising. He is the author of business books that tell the story of how he built Steiner Sports and offer tips for business success.
Numerous efforts by the Business Journal to reach Steiner for comment about the closing notice and sale were not immediately successful. Robert Duffy, CFO and vice president of operations at Steiner, who was listed on the labor department filing as the company contact, also could not be reached. Efforts to obtain comment from Rubin or other officials at Fanatics in Jacksonville also were unsuccessful.
It was reported that the sale to Fanatics includes Steiner’s inventory, name and some intellectual property but excludes contracts Steiner has with athletes. Among the numerous athletes who signed memorabilia exclusively with Steiner Sports are: Bill Buckner, Boston Red Sox; Jorge Posada, New York Yankees; CC Sabathia, Yankees; Lou Holtz, Notre Dame Fighting Irish; Eli Manning, New York Giants; Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks; and Mark Messier, New York Rangers.