Sports Authority Launches Agency Search

Retailer Reviews Creative and Media on $40 Million Account

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NEW YORK ( -- Sports Authority has launched a review of its $35 million to $40 million creative and media account.

"In an effort to help define our brand and continue to bring it to life with our customers, we are exploring additional potential advertising partners," Jeff Schumacher, exec VP-chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer at Sports Authority, said in a statement.

The marketer declined to provide more details about the process, but the review is expected to encompass both creative and media duties, currently handled by Rochester, N.Y.-based Post Central and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, respectively. This is the second time the media portion of the retailer's account is in flux in recent years; Deutsch's media arm worked for the sporting goods chain from 2005-2007, before the account left and the agency won it back in late 2008.

Agencies could not be immediately reached for comment.

Englewood, Colo.-based Sports Authority spent more than $35 million in domestic measured media in 2009, according to Kantar Media, and in the first three months of 2010 has already spent $17 million. The company operates 462 stores in 45 states and also operates stores in Japan under a partnership with Aeon Co.

The move comes as Sports Authority is making changes under Mr. Schumacher, who arrived at the retailer late last year. Earlier this month it announced the launch of "S.A. Elite," a new, small-store concept which Mr. Schumacher said tested well with consumers. Each S.A. Elite store is expected to be between 12,000 to 15,000 square feet and offer an assortment of high-end performance apparel, footwear and accessories from brands such as Nike, North Face, Under Armour, Columbia and New Balance.

The first S.A. Elite store is scheduled to open this August in Denver.

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