|Founded||1928 as Gart Sports
1987 as Sports Authority (Fort Lauderdale)
|Headquarters||1050 West Hampden Avenue, Englewood, Colorado 80110|
|Number of locations||450+|
|Key people||Michael Foss, CEO
Thomas Hendrickson, CFO
|Products||Apparel, sports equipment, footwear, exercise equipment|
|Owner(s)||Leonard Green & Partners|
|Employees||14,250 (2011) |
Sports Authority, Inc. (still known as The Sports Authority in some locations) is one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the United States. It is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, and operates more than 460 stores in 45 U.S. states under the Sports Authority name.
The company's website is on the GSI Commerce platform and supports the retail stores as well as other multi-channel programs. In addition, a joint venture with ÆON Co., Ltd. operates "Sports Authority" stores in Japan under a licensing agreement.
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Gart Sports began in 1928, when Denver Post newspaper carrier Nathan Gart started the company with $50 in fishing rod samples.
In 1971, Gart Sports Company opened the "Sportscastle" superstore in Denver, Colorado at the corner of 10th Avenue and Broadway. The 1980s marked a period of substantial growth for the company through a series of acquisitions. These mergers included Hagan's Sports Ltd. (1987) and Stevens Brown of Salt Lake City (1987). In the fall of 1992, Leonard Green & Partners acquired Thrifty and became the company's largest shareholder.
At the same time that Gart Sports Company opened the Sportscastle, the Hochberg family and the Cantor family opened their first Sportmart in Niles, Illinois. The company grew to 60 stores in nine states. Gart Sports and Sportmart merged in 1998. Sportmart briefly operated in Canada before closing down their operations.
Oshman's Sporting Goods was founded in Houston, Texas in 1919 by Jake Oshman. By 1965, Oshman's had become the largest sporting goods chain in Texas, operating 43 Oshman's SuperSports USA stores and 15 traditional stores; the company merged with Gart Sports in 2001.
The Sports Authority, Inc. was founded in Lakes Mall in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida by a syndicate of venture capital groups and several key founding executives. Jack A. Smith, formerly COO of Herman's World of Sports, CEO; Roy M. Cohen, Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager; Richard Lynch, Senior Vice President and CFO and Arnold Sedel, Vice President of Stores Operations were the founding executives. The venture capital syndicate was led by William Blair Venture Partners and included First Chicago Venture Partners, Bain Capital, Phillips-Smith Venture Partners, Marquette Venture Partners, and Bessemer Securities.
The Sports Authority, Inc. opened its first store in November 1987 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 1990 Kmart acquired the company. Five years later, The Sports Authority had expanded to 136 stores in 26 states, and was spun off from parent Kmart.
Gart Sports merge with Sports Authority
Gart Sports, which also operated Oshman's and Sportmart, completed a "merger of equals" with Sports Authority on August 4, 2003. At the time of its merger with Gart Sports Company, The Sports Authority was the largest full-line sporting goods retailer in the United States, and had 205 stores in 33 states. The combined company took the Sports Authority name. With the merger, each share of Sports Authority was exchanged with 0.37 shares of Gart Sports which gave investors in each about 50% of the new merchant. The new company is based in Englewood, Colorado, which was the home of Gart Sports.
As of May 2006, the remaining stores that were not operating under the Sports Authority name were re-branded to the Sports Authority name. There are no longer any stores operating under the name of Gart Sports, Sportmart or Oshman's.
In August 2006, Copeland's Sports, headquartered out of San Luis Obispo, California filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and on November 17, 2006, Sports Authority, through a wholly owned subsidiary, assumed the leasehold interests in seven former Copeland's Sports retail store locations.
2006 leveraged buyout by Leonard Green & Partners
In January 2006, Sports Authority agreed to be purchased in a leveraged buyout by affiliates of Leonard Green & Partners, a private equity investment firm, in a transaction valued at $1.4 billion. Shareholders approved the deal in May 2006. Upon completion of the merger, Sports Authority ceased to be a publicly listed stock. The subordinated financing for the deal was a private mezzanine loan from TCW/Crescent Mezzanine LLC. Thus, no public bonds are outstanding and Sports Authority no longer files financial statements with the SEC.
Sports Authority launched new store brand "S.A. Elite" in mid-2010, based on consumer research and testing. These stores are smaller than typical Sports Authority outlets and carry high-end sports apparel and accessories.
Sports Authority sells different brands of sporting goods from many different vendors. The company also sells products under its own private labels, including Alpine Design (seasonal clothing and outdoor goods), Sims (seasonal clothing and snowboards), Aspire (women's sportswear), SA Gear (men's sportswear and fitness equipment), Tommy Armour and Ram (Golf), Parkside (outdoor games and trampolines), and Bodyfit by Sports Authority (fitness accessories). Many of these products are made by other manufacturers and branded with the Sports Authority private labels.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Sports Authority currently owns the corporate naming rights to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, a stadium in Denver, Colorado, which is the home of the Denver Broncos and was previously known as Invesco Field at Mile High.
Sports Authority's major competitor stores include:
- Sport Chalet
- City Sports
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Big 5 Sporting Goods
- MC Sports
- Varsity Sport Shop
- "Sportsauthority.com Terms and Conditions of Use." Sports Authority. Retrieved on September 15, 2011. "1050 West Hampden Avenue Englewood, CO 80110"
- "About Us" at the Wayback Machine (archived October 6, 2001). Sports Authority. October 6, 2001. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
- "Lauderdale Lakes city, Florida." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
- "Contact Us" at the Wayback Machine (archived November 1, 2001). Sports Authority. Retrieved on September 15, 2011. "Corporate Office THE SPORTS AUTHORITY, INC. Customer Service 3383 North State Road 7 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33319"
- Steinhauer, Jennifer. "Sporting Goods Retailers Start to Consider New Lineups." The New York Times. June 12, 1997. 1. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
- Harden, Mark (May 12, 2010). "Sports Authority launching new store brand". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
- Sharrow, Ryan (January 31, 2012). "Sports Authority's S.A. Elite to open first East Coast store". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved July 26, 2012. "S.A. Elite was launched in summer 2010 by Englewood-based Sports Authority."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sports Authority.|
- Official website
- Sports Authority Move It Challenge, Contest for kid inventors 18 and under (Deadline: January 3, 2011)
- 10-K filing, containing merger information
- Merger proxy