This is why Dick’s Sporting Goods, a traditional retail outlet, is investing in sports tech with an eye on youth leagues
Dick’s Team Sports HQ is adding another digital tool to its lineup, GameChanger, by acquiring the live scoring iOS app’s parent company. GameChanger Media will, in the course of the yet-undisclosed terms of the acquisition, expand its offerings to include more sports and platforms.
Prior to its acquisition, GameChanger Media had raised $10.63 million for its operations.
Dick’s has been expanding its presence in the sporting apps field, recently becoming “the recommended technology provider” for the US Little League Baseball and Softball organization, encompassing a total of 3.4 million potential users. This puts it in the same ballpark as NBC Sports Group’s own SportsEngine platform, with its 5 million users.
The GameChanger deal follows an earlier acquisition of Affinity Sports and Blue Sombrero. Beyond online sports management technology, which were also the focus of Affinity Sports and Blue Sombrero, Dick’s is pursuing e-commerce and social media options to draw more fans, players, and staff into its services.
The idea is to develop its platforms as all-in-one stops for keeping track of scores, managing player resources, feeding fans with statistics, putting out special promotions, and helping administrators slog through the logistics of outfitting and maintaining a team.
As Forbes notes, the shift to digital may help the company outline a more sustainable long-term strategy. Dick’s has outlasted several of its once formidable rivals, like now-bankrupt Sports Authority. But in an age when Amazon and Dick’s own suppliers are increasingly selling direct to customers rather than the chain’s brick-and-mortar locations, the company needs to diversify its offerings. Youth is a good area to do this in. And, as a recent Deloitte report on sports tech notes, digitizing the games’ big data will open up new frontiers for players and fans alike.