Dick's Sporting Goods announced it has acquired GameChangerMedia, a provider of a mobile scoring and content applications for amateur sports leagues, to become the latest game piece in its Dick's Team Sports HQ (TSHQ) suite of digital youth sports offerings.
GameChanger’s content consists of live play-by-play updates that allow family and friends of individual players to track their performance, as well as instant game recap stories for 165,000 amateur baseball and softball teams and data-driven coaching insights.
TSHQ aims to provide youth sports leagues, teams, coaches and parents a range of services related to league management, website administration, online registration, scheduling and communications, along with custom uniforms and fan apparel.
This is the third acquisition by Dick’s Sporting Goods to fit into the retailer’s budding TSHQ unit since it launched the initiative at the beginning of this year, following its February acquisition of Blue Sombrero and its purchase this summer of Affinity Sports.
With these acquisitions, Dick’s has presented its aims as those of a good corporate citizen using software and web technology to help administrators, coaches, players and fans of youth sports leagues get greater access to valuable content, informational tools and other tools. However, the sporting goods retailer also is trying to buy itself more intimate access to organized groups of potential customers for its own merchandise.
For Dick's, it's an interesting angle on how to use advanced technology to break away from the limitations of the brick-and-mortar model, which has been especially unkind lately to sports-related retailers (see Sports Authority's bankruptcy as Exhibit A). What Dick's is doing with TSHQ is not strictly an e-commerce sales move, but more an effort to use software, online and mobile technology to build relationships through a new channel.
Will it work? The retailer has been keeping its head above water financially, though there doesn't seem to be any obvious evidence yet that the TSHQ effort has become an engine of sales growth.
GameChanger is an interesting app. Having used it once or twice to track my own nephew's little league games from afar, it's not too different from tracking a major league baseball game on your phone. The big question that comes to mind as your using it is "How do they manage to make a business model out of tracking games for bunch of different youth and amateur leagues whose potential audience is microscopic compared to MLB?" But those slivers of audience — and the whole they make up when put together — are exactly what Dick's is interested in accessing.