RETAIL CHAIN SPORTS AUTHORITY OPENS REVIEW

Account Could Be Worth $80 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The nation's No. 1 sporting goods chain is searching for a fresh creative approach and has called an agency review that could be worth around $80 million in billings.

The Sports Authority, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., currently works with local ad agency WestWayne.

Soon to merge with rival
The Sports Authority is close to completing a merger with the No. 2 category retailer, Gart Sports Co., which is based in Englewood, Colo. The move will give the new company around 385 stores in 45 states. Headquarters for the newly merged entity, which will retain the Sports Authority name, will be in Englewood.

Gart exec handling review
A spokeswoman for Gart Sports said the company's vice president of marketing, David Smith, is conducting the review. The Gart Sports spokeswoman would not reveal the size of the account.

Neither the Sports Authority nor WestWayne returned calls for comment by press time.

Gart Sports, which uses independent Kelly, Scott & Madison for media buying, spent $69 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, while Sports Authority spent $13 million. Gart's advertising is handled in-house.