Dick's Sporting Goods advertising and marketing assignments

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Dick's Sporting Goods is the leading specialist sports equipment and apparel retailer in the US, with 730 Dick's stores in 47 states, as well as an additional chain of more than 126 specialist outlets. Originally trading as Golf Galaxy, Field & Stream and other brands, these began to evolve in 2021 into immersive fitness stores. House of Sport offers "multi-sport experiences" including a running track, climbing wall and batting cage, while Public Lands is a retail concept for outdoors enthusaists. Following the collapse of its main specialist rival Sports Authority in 2015, and the bankruptcy filing of Vestis Retail Group in 2016, Dick's now claims over 60% share of the US sporting goods retail sector; its principal competition comes from Walmart and Amazon. Mainstream outlets stock a full range from traditional sports such as football, golf, and tennis to general fitness and outdoor activities, and Dick's has expanded its portfolio of own-label products through selected acquisitions such as Top-Flite golfing products and outdoor specialists Koppen and Field & Stream. A new specialist running outlet opened in 2012 under the True Runner banner, and an increasing number of Dick's outlets are premium speciality stores specialising in just one brand, under banners including Nike Fieldhouse and Under Armour All-American as well as dedicated NFL stores. However, one area in which Dick's has contracted rather than expanded is in hunting products, and especially guns. In a reaction to recent US mass shootings, it announced plans to close the hunting departments in more than three-quarters of its stores by the end of 2020. In 2012 the company established a low-profile presence in the UK through a minority holding in struggling local chain JJB Sports. That was intended to kickstart international expansion, but JJB collapsed a few months later. Dick's wrote off its investment and no further action has been taken to expand beyond the US. Dick's was founded in 1948 by Dick Stack, initially as a small bait and tackle store. It expanded dramatically from the 1980s onwards under the management of his son Ed Stack. In Feb 2021, Stack passed over the title of CEO to Lauren Hobart but he remains executive chairman and chief merchant. The family control a majority of voting shares. Revenues for ye Jan 2021 hit a new high of $9.6bn, despite Covid-enforced store closures, with net income of $530m. Nike-brand products accounted for more than 20% of sales.

Capsule checked 22nd November 2021

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Adbrands Daily Update 13th Mar 2019: Dick's Sporting Goods took further steps to limit sales of guns and related equipment through its stores, despite a continuing negative impact on financial performance. Traditionally, one of America's biggest gun retailers, it has also taken a lead in scaling back its exposure to the sector in the wake of recent mass shootings in the US. This week, the company said it would remove guns from sale in 125 outlets, and would consider expanding that policy to further stores depending on public reaction. For the year to 2019, group revenues slipped 2% to $8.4bn with net income of $320m. Stack acknowledged that negative feeling among gunowners to Dick's policies had been a "meaningful driver" in the declines. "People in the gun business are not terribly happy with us," said CEO Ed Stack. "They said we were toxic, which is fine with us; we're not going to change the way we're going." In an unrelated announcement that represents a serious blow to sportswear manufacturer Adidas, Dick's also said it would stop selling the Reebok brand and instead launch its own inhouse brand, which it expects to generate better sales.

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Mar 2018: America's gun laws have been in a bright and unwavering spotlight since the Parkland school shooting two weeks ago, and corporate responses to that horror finally began to filter through this week. More than 20 leading US brands have severed promotional ties and discount partnerships with the National Rifle Association in response to a social media campaign to which several survivors of the incident have given their support. They include Delta and United airlines, MetLife, Symantec, Best Western hotels and car rental operators Hertz, Avis and Enterprise. The NRA reacted to the outcry with (possibly ill-advised) outrage and defiance, accusing these brands of a "shameful display of political and civic cowardice" as well as a lack of patriotism. FedEx was one of the few companies to reject calls for a boycott. The NRA, it said, is one of hundreds of organisations with whom it has a discount partnership. "FedEx has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs or positions on issues." A few days later, however, FedEx's resolve seemed to have wavered a little, when it issued a new statement "clarifying" its position. It does not offer a discount to the NRA itself, but only to companies and individuals who are members. However, arch-rival UPS, it pointed out, does have a direct partnership with the NRA.

The furore puts companies in a difficult position. Even Warren Buffett, legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, but also a Democrat politically, weighed in on the issue. "I think it's a mistake to start getting personal views and trying to impose them on an organization," he told CNBC. "What the [boycott organisers] are doing is very admirable, but I don't think Berkshire should say we're not going to do business with people who own guns. I think that would be ridiculous." Perhaps the first truly constructive step forward came from retail chain Dick's Sporting Goods, which said it will no longer sell assault rifles or high capacity magazines at its Field & Stream specialist hunting goods subsidiary. Mainline Dick's stores had already stopped selling assault weapons in 2012 after Sandy Hook. Dick's also raised the age limit for purchase of any firearms in its stores from 18 to 21 years of age. Shortly afterwards, Walmart and Kroger's Fred Meyer chain followed suit in barring sales to under-21s. Both had already previously stopped selling assault weapons.

Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Aug 2016: Ads of the Week "Gold". We could easily fill all four spots with Olympics-related ads, but we're limiting ourselves to just one each week. Here's a stunning film from Anomaly New York for retailer Dick's Sporting Goods, a key sponsor (and part-time employer) of the athletes of Team USA. It's hard to move for Olympics ads right now, but some are considerably better than others, and this is among the very best.

Adbrands Weekly Update 7th July 2016: US sporting goods chain Dick's was the winning bidder in the auction of assets from collapsed rival Sports Authority. A bargain offer of $15m secured 31 of Sports Authority's best stores as well as its name, website and customer database.

Adbrands Weekly Update 24th July 2014: Ads of the Week: "The Moment". Anomaly New York maintains the buzz for team sports events in the lull between the World Cup and the new sports season with another excellent ad for retailer Dick's Sporting Goods. Like its predecessors, this spot pumps up that heart-in-the-mouth adrenaline by focussing not on overpaid professional superstars but the everyday amateurs who are Dick's real-life customers. The result is arguably far more gripping than, say, the animated antics of Nike's cartoon footballers.

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