TAMPA — The Laser Spine Institute’s abruptly vacated Tampa headquarters has a new tenant. Fanatics Inc., a giant in the sporting apparel industry, announced this week that it now rents three of the building’s six floors.
Fanatics specializes in fan gear, jerseys and licensed apparel. The 5332 Avion Park Dr. location in the Westshore area will house Fanatics’ in-house apparel division, Fanatics Brands, which designs and plans the distribution and creation for its gear. The apparel division has been spread across three locations in Tampa.
“This space will join many of our teams under one roof and allow us to better engage with our employees, foster creativity and create an enhanced environment of teamwork," said Fanatics Brands president Joe Bozich in a release.
The 176,000-square-foot space became available after the Laser Spine Institute shuttered without warning in March. The 14-year-old institute closed largely because of financial issues.
“Despite significant cost saving activities over the last 6 months — including closing three surgical centers — that dramatically reduced its operating cost structure, the company has been unable to achieve a financially sustainable path forward,” the company said in a statement at the time.
Fanatics is dually headquartered in Jacksonville and San Mateo, Calif. Despite the size of its new space, the company said, the move is not a headquarters relocation.
As of 2018, the company had about 500 employees in the Tampa Bay area and 2,500 in Florida. The company has absorbed several major competitors over the past several years. Fanatics acquired competitor Fansedge in 2011 and sports apparel brand Majestic in 2017.
In addition to selling fan merchandise, it also contracts with many major sports teams to sell licensed merchandise, including the exclusive rights to sell National Hockey League replica jerseys. One of its 63 partnering professional teams is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as of March.
“They’re an industry leader in licensed sports merchandising, and we’re going to draw off of their expertise,” said Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford, in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times at the time.
According to Fanatics spokesman Brandon Williams, Fanatics will move into the former Laser Spine building in phases, completing the first phase by the end of 2020.