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NFL invests $320 million in Fanatics

The Bills sit atop the list of AFC win totals, and Chris Simms is riding the Buffalo hype train as Mike Florio stays optimistic about the Dolphins and Steelers.

The NFL has multiple sponsorship arrangements with sports books. The NFL eventually could own a piece of one.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported on Wednesday that the NFL became the biggest investor in Fanatics’ most recent round of funding. The league has devoted $320 million to the $1.5 billion effort. The company now has a valuation of $27 billion.

Fanatics founder Michael Rubin recently has embarked on a strategy that goes well beyond hats and apparel. Fanatics aspires to become a one-stop shop for anything a sports fan may want or need, from clothing to sports media to tickets to trading cards to betting.

If/when Fanatics develops or purchases a sports book, the NFL will indirectly own a sports book -- even if (based on current numbers) the NFL’s investment would amount to 1.1 percent of the entire business.

The NFL Players Association also has invested in Fanatics, along with the NHL, MB, and the MLB Players Association.